PM Narendra's Modi's U.S tour

No drifts in ties, Modi and Trump declare

Both sides reiterated their commitment to continuing the course on strategic convergence in Asia Pacific, increasing defence trade partnership and added energy as a new thrust area of cooperation.

Both sides reiterated their commitment to continuing the course on strategic convergence in Asia Pacific, increasing defence trade partnership and added energy as a new thrust area of cooperation.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S President Donald Trump jointly declared on Monday that bilateral ties between India and the U.S would continue to grow, seeking to dispel the notions that the latter’s election to the White House on a nationalist agenda might have a negative impact on the relationship.

 

With Mr. Modi by his side in the Rose Garden of the White House after they met for the first time, Mr. Trump said the relationship “has never been stronger, has never been better.” The leaders shared a meal and three hugs in the four hours that Mr. Modi spent at the White House, and First Lady Melania Trump gave the PM a tour of the residential quarter. The interaction between the leaders showed “visible chemistry,” and “they were comfortable talking to each other,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told reporters. The one-on-one meeting lasted for 40 minutes.

 

A joint statement by the leaders issued after the deliberations underscored the fight against terrorism as a cornerstone of mutual cooperation between the countries, went beyond the usual American position on Pakistan that usually pulls up it for harbouring terrorist groups and echoed Indian concerns regarding the Chinese-led Belt and Road initiative. “We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism,” Mr. Trump said.

 

Both sides reiterated their commitment to continuing the course on strategic convergence in Asia Pacific, increasing defence trade partnership and added energy as a new thrust area of cooperation. A fact sheet provided the by the White House said, with the sale of Guardian drones, Apache attack helicopters, and C-17 aircraft, defence orders by India for American companies will be nearly $19 billion, “supporting thousands of U.S jobs.”

Addressing the media after the formal talks but before the reception and dinner, Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi spoke of shared democratic values, and their status of being leaders of two big democracies. “The friendship between the United States and India is built on shared values, including our shared commitment to democracy,” the President said. Mr. Modi said there was a meeting of minds between the two as, “the top priority for both President Trump and myself is to protect our society from global challenges like terrorism; and because our aim is the strengthening of India and the USA -- two great democracies in the world.”

 

Mr. Trump and his guests usually take questions from media during Rose Garden appearances, but on Monday questions were not allowed. As American reporters shouted questions, the leaders turned around and walked back to the Oval Office. The White House had earlier said the “leaders preferred” to go without questions on Monday.

As Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi spoke, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defence James Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, President’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner sat in the harsh afternoon sun. Mr. Modi also a had meeting with Mr. Pence in his office.

Mr. Modi invited the President’s daughter Invaka Trump to lead the U.S delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) which India will host later this year. GES is a key foreign policy initiative of former President Barack Obama to bring together global entrepreneurs and innovators. The event was expected to be show of camaraderie between the two countries, and with Ms. Trump’s participation, it will also signal continuity from the Obama years. “I’m excited to report that the Prime Minister has invited my daughter, Ivanka, to lead the U.S. delegation,” said Mr. Trump.

While Mr. Trump was explicit about fighting “Islamic” terrorism, Mr. Modi spoke of fighting radicalization. “Both our nations have been struck by the evils of terrorism, and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them,” said Mr. Trump.

Speaking after Mr. Trump, in Hindi, Mr, Modi said: “…we discussed the serious challenges of terrorism, extremism, and radicalization, which are the major challenges facing the world today.

As they concluded the formal talks, Mr. Trump thanked India for ordering military equipment, though there was no announcement of American decision to sell unarmed Guardian drones to India, as expected. Market access and trade issues remain irritants in ties, and the President raised them in the public statement and during the talks.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 12:18:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/no-drifts-in-ties-modi-and-trump-declare/article19155949.ece

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