New Delhi: National security adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval met US president-elect Donald Trump’s NSA-designate Gen (retd) Michael Flynn in Washington on Monday.
“This was more of an acquainting session between the two NSAs and a wide range of issues of strategic and geopolitical importance are believed to have been discussed. Ways to strengthen Indo-US ties are also on the cards,” said a senior Indian government official, on condition of anonymity.
Indian embassy officials said in Washington that Flynn also expressed his “high respect” for India’s growth and its leadership, over the past few years.
While there was no official comment on the contents of the discussion between the two, reports suggested that Flynn was reportedly optimistic about Indo-US ties and engagements as the two of them took stock of bilateral ties.
Flynn and Doval reportedly spoke on the phone a few days ago, after which Flynn invited Doval to visit the US for a meeting.
This is the third time that India and the US have connected since Trump won the election. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to Trump was quickly followed by foreign secretary S. Jaishankar visiting the US earlier in November. Doval’s talks with Flynn are now being looked upon as the basis on which the tone and tenor of US-India ties will be set.
While there is no official word on the subjects of the discussions, there is a strong indication that Doval and Flynn will engage in more discussions in the coming days.
While Flynn made his career as an intelligence officer at the US Defence Intelligence Agency, he is known to have a chequered history. He took voluntary retirement from service, reportedly after a disagreement with the Obama administration with regard to his stand on “radical Islam” and terrorism. He also played a key role during the counter-insurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Flynn courted controversy in the days leading up to the US election, with reports surfacing of him clashing with officials who conducted a national security briefing for Trump. Flynn also reportedly encouraged campaigners to chant “Lock her (Hillary Clinton) up” during the campaign.