PM Narendra's Modi's U.S tour

All eyes on Modi-Trump meet: What to expect

Warm welcome: Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by people of the Indian community, on his arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Washington, on Sunday.

Warm welcome: Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by people of the Indian community, on his arrival at Joint Base Andrews, Washington, on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The two sides are expected to discuss three conflict regions of Afghanistan, ISIS-held Syria and Iraq, as well as tensions in the South China Sea.

While much weight is being put on the “personal chemistry” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump, they only have about 20 minutes in their schedule for one-on-one discussions, and officials say this indicates that there is time for a number of issues to come up during the delegation level talks.

Chief among them is charting Indo-U.S. strategic partnership ahead, including talks on the last two of 3 “foundational agreements” the U.S. wants India to sign. The two sides are expected to discuss three conflict regions of Afghanistan, ISIS-held Syria and Iraq, as well as tensions in the South China Sea. The discussion on Afghanistan is significant as it comes a few weeks ahead of the U.S.’s revised “Af-Pak” policy. India would like the U.S. to cut military aid to Pakistan, the MEA spokesperson said last week, and to increase its resources to bolster the Ghani government against the Taliban.

 

Both sides have many trade issues to discuss, where the U.S. is mainly concerned about high tariffs and patent protection in India, India is worried about the possible cuts in visas and jobs for Indians. Mr. Trump’s “America First” policy could be in conflict with Mr. Modi’s “Make in India” in terms of where the jobs will be created, and several manufacturers, like Lockheed Martin are pitching their plan for F-16 fighter jet assembly lines in India as a possible middle ground. The most imminent defence deal could be for 22 Predator drones to be bought off the shelf, however from, U.S. company General Atomics for a cost of reportedly $2-3 billion. Meanwhile, little movement has taken place on the NPCIL-Westinghouse deal for nuclear reactors, as Westinghouse has filed for bankruptcy, a deal touted as the first commercial contract from the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

However officials point out that this is the first of several meetings this year, as both leaders will meet at the G-20 in Germany in a fortnight, and PM Modi may return for a longer visit in September during the UN General Assembly session. “We may leave thorny issues like Climate Change, NSG and immigration, amongst others, to a future date,” said a senior official, indicating that this was a “no-frills” visit, for talks expected to set the course for the next few years of the India-US relationship.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 4:04:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/all-eyes-on-modi-trump-meet-what-to-expect/article19150279.ece

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