Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Trump, Modi seek rapport despite friction on trade, immigration

Narendra Modi Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Ellis Copeland | 27 June, 2017, 05:58

US President Donald Trump declared on Monday (Jun 26) that ties between Washington and New Delhi had "never been stronger" after holding his first talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The two leaders are expected to push for closer co-operation on defence and global security.

Referring to terrorism, Modi said it was posing a challenge to both the countries.

Trump, in Oval Office remarks as Modi sat beside him, said Modi "has been such a great prime minister" and noted that he had been reading about India's economic success under his leadership.

The meeting covered "all dimensions of US-India relations at length", Modi said.

"The US agenda was definitely heavier on strategic issues, as was expected". A joint India-US statement is also likely to be issued.

This is in addition to the 22 Predator Guardian drones that the USA will supply to India.

Modi will meet President Trump on Monday, and this will be the first personal meeting between the heads of the two regimes.

"But frankly, the priorities are different and the nature of the relationships are different", the official said. Modi, under a program titled "Make in India", has been looking for foreign companies to set up production in India. "We will destroy radical islamic terrorism", Trump said.

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On whether the contentious H-1B visa issue would come up for discussion during the meeting, a senior administration official said it was unlikely to be raised from the U.S. side but if raised by the Indian side, the Americans were ready for it.

During his visit to The Netherlands, Prime Minister will also interact Indian diaspora in a community reception programme, before heading back to India.

Relations between India and the USA were generally cool until the 1990s but they warmed under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, as India sought greater foreign investment and trade ties.

Trump has focused on outreach to China, India's strategic rival, as he looks to Beijing to rein in North Korea.

"We have a tonne of energy going into the country on a number of fronts", Cook told analysts about Apple's efforts in India during the company's most recent earnings call. "We have succeeded in conveying to the world the deleterious effects of terrorism on India".

A proposed overhaul of H-1B visas - used by thousands of Indian software engineers to work in the United States - has also caused concern in New Delhi.

Last year, US trade with India totaled an estimated 114.8 billion USA dollars, and US trade deficit with India was 30.8 billion US dollars, according to USA official figures.

"The rollout of the Goods and Services Tax on July 1 will, in a single stroke, convert India into a unified, continent-sized market of 1.3 billion people", he wrote.

They stress the importance of the huge Indian market to USA companies and major growth in areas such as aviation, which offer significant opportunities for US manufacturers.

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