U.S. envoy to the UN Nikky Haley talks to the media during a visit to Humayun’s Tomb, in New Delhi, June 27. (Arun Sharma/PTI)

The U.S. envoy to United Nations, Nikki Haley, on June 27, pointed to opportunities in Indo-U.S. relationship at multiple levels including counter-terrorism and military aspects and said her visit was aimed at solidifying the partnership between the two oldest democracies in the world.

Haley, who is on her first visit to India after becoming U.S. envoy to UN, asserted that religious freedom is as important as freedom of people and their rights.

Haley, accompanied by U.S. ambassador to India, Kenneth Juster, visited the tomb of Mughal emperor Humayun in Delhi and termed her visit as coming back home.

“It makes my heart happy to be back in India, it is as beautiful as I remember it to be. Its always good to be back home.

“My parents said I was crazy to come at this time of the year because it is so hot. But, I will tell you that the heat is worth it to be back in India,” she said.

Talking about strength of U.S.-India relationship she said, the two countries were oldest democracies that share values of people, freedom and opportunities.

“We see those opportunities between the U.S. and India in a multiple level of ways whether in counter terrorism, whether it is the fact that we want to continue democratic opportunities, whether it is a fact that we want to start to work together more strongly in military aspects,” she said.

Haley said that there are lot of things common between India and the U.S. and her visit was to solidify the friendship.

“In this day and time we see more and more reasons for India and the U.S. to come together. I am here to once again solidify our love for India, our belief in the friendship India and the U.S. have and our willingness to make that relationship even more stronger,” she said.

Hailing preservation of Humayun tomb as a reminder of value attached by India to culture, she said,”Humayun tomb is a reminder of how much we value culture and how much India values culture. The preservation that has happened here is a reminder that we all remember where we came from and we have to preserve it for the future.”

Haley asserted the importance of religious freedom.

“We think freedom of religion is as important as freedom of rights and freedom of people,” she said.

Haley, during her two-day visit, met senior Indian officials, business leaders and students, underscoring America’s “strong alliance” with the country.

Talks between Haley, the highest ranking Indian American in the Donald Trump administration, and Indian officials include a host of topics including India-U.S. strategic ties and significant global developments.

Haley had visited India in late 2014 when she was the South Carolina Governor.

Haley, the daughter of Sikh immigrants from Punjab, is the first Indian American to serve in a Cabinet-level position in any U.S. presidential administration.

Modi, Haley Discuss Cooperation in Counter-terrorism

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley today discussed ways to enhance India-U.S. cooperation in various fields, including counter-terrorism.

Haley also met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and discussed ways to deepen the Indo-U.S. strategic partnership and the ongoing cooperation between the two countries at the UN.

During her call on with the prime minister, Haley noted the deepening relations between India and the U.S., particularly in the strategic and defense sectors.

“Both the dignitaries discussed ways to enhance India-U.S. cooperation, including on counter-terrorism and in multilateral fora.

“They expressed confidence that strong India-U.S. partnership will continue to be an important factor for global peace and prosperity,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The PM appreciated President Donald Trump’s South Asia and Indo-Pacific strategies and commended his initiative for denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Haley conveyed greetings from President Trump while Modi warmly recalled their earlier meetings and interactions.

On Haley’s meeting with Swaraj, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “EAM @SushmaSwaraj met @nikkihaley, US Ambassador to the United Nations. Good discussion to deepen our strategic partnership and strengthen our ongoing cooperation at the United Nations.”