PM Narendra's Modi's U.S tour

Tillerson, Mattis call on Modi

Rex W. Tillerson, Secretary of State, calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Rex W. Tillerson, Secretary of State, calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi   | Photo Credit: @MEAIndia

The United States Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday morning, setting the stage for his first meeting with President Donald Trump in the afternoon.

The President will host Mr. Modi and the Indian delegation for a working dinner at the White House on Monday evening.

Aligning the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in defence, security and commercial sectors to Mr. Trump’s domestic political agenda will be the aim of India’s outreach to the U.S. President and his officials.


Mr. Modi, who presented India’s growth prospects as a great opportunity for American business before CEOs of prominent companies on Sunday, further emphasised the point in an oped article in The Wall Street Journal.

Indian and American officials have done extensive preparatory work for the meeting between the two leaders that could set the course and character of bilateral ties for years to come. Indian officials have been eager to keep the expectations low in the run up to the visit. But on Monday morning, a senior functionary of the Indian government said the visit was turning out to be “historic.”

Market access issues, intellectual property rights protection issues in India, pending issues in defence ties, and the Modi government’s crackdown on American NGOs in India could be potential irritants.

From his first visit to the U.S. in 2014 onward, Mr. Modi has sought to woo the U.S by presenting India as a rare confluence of “democracy, demand and demography” and a country with commercial and security interests matching America’s. The one-on-one between the two leaders, scheduled for 1 a.m. IST on Tuesday, will be the most crucial component of the visit, officials familiar with the preparations said. The meeting is scheduled for 20 minutes, to be followed by a one hour delegation-level meeting.

In his oped, Mr. Modi specifically addressed Mr. Trump’s domestic agenda. “Indian companies are adding value to the manufacturing and services sectors in the U.S., with total investments of approximately $15 billion and a presence in more than 35 States, including the Rust Belt. American companies have likewise fuelled their global growth by investing more than $20 billion in India. The transformation of India presents abundant commercial and investment opportunities for American businesses,” he wrote. The collapse of manufacturing in traditional industrial states — the Rust Belt — has fuelled the popularity of Mr. Trump. Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi have built their respective domestic constituencies on the promise of rapid job creation.

The domestic popularity of both leaders is also based on their projected strength in the face global terrorist threats, another point underscored by Mr. Modi. “Both India and the U.S. have an overriding interest in securing our societies, and the world, from the forces of terrorism, radical ideologies and non-traditional security threats. India has four decades’ experience in fighting terrorism, and we share the U.S. administration’s determination to defeat this scourge,” he wrote.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:45:19 PM |

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