PM Narendra's Modi's U.S tour

India, U.S. determined to destroy terrorist organisations, says Trump

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive for the joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday.   | Photo Credit: AFP

President Donald Trump on Monday said he was a true friend of India, and that the relationship between the two countries “has never been stronger, has never been better.”

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi by his side in the Rose Garden of the White House, after they both met for the first time, Mr. Trump said: “During my campaign, I pledged that if elected, India would have a true friend in the White House.  And that is now exactly what you have -- a true friend.”

The entire senior leadership of the Trump administration was present when the leaders read out their individual statements before the camera. First Lady Melania Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defence James Mattis, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, President’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner sat in the harsh afternoon sun.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the White House on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the White House on Monday. Mr. Modi will be the first world leader to be hosted at the White House by Mr. Trump.   | Photo Credit: AFP

 

Mr. Modi said there was a perfect 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.”

Ivanka in India

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

Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump indicated that the change in administration in the U.S would not impact the upward trajectory of ties between the two countries. “The friendship between the United States and India is built on shared values, including our shared commitment to democracy,” the President said, pointing out that both American and the Indian constitutions “begin with the same three very beautiful words:  We the people.”

On radical Islamic terrorism

Underscoring another of their common grounds, the President said: “We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism.” “Both our nations have been struck by the evils of terrorism, and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organisations and the radical ideology that drives them.”

Speaking after Mr. Trump, in Hindi, Mr. Modi said: “…we discussed the serious challenges of terrorism, extremism, and radicalisation, which are the major challenges facing the world today.  And we have agreed to enhance our cooperation in fighting against these scourges.  Fighting terrorism and doing away with the safe shelters, sanctuaries, and safe havens will be an important part of our cooperation.”

As they sat together for the talks, Mr. Trump thanked India for ordering military equipment. There was no announcement of American decision to sell unarmed Guardian drones to India. “..thank you very much for the equipment, ordering equipment from the United States. Always makes us feel very good. There’s nobody [that] makes military equipment like we make military equipment. Nobody even close, so we want to thank you very much"

America First vs India First

Mr. Modi said his ideas for India’s development and Mr. Trump’s for America were mutually compatible. “I am sure that the convergence between my vision for a new India and President Trump’s vision for ‘making America great again’ will add new dimensions to our cooperation,” Mr. Modi said.

Questions have been raised in the run up to the meeting about the potential conflict between Mr. Trump’s America First and Mr. Modi’s India First approach to economic and commercial ties. “I look forward to working with you, Mr. Prime Minister, to create jobs in our countries, to grow our economies, and to create a trading relationship that is fair and reciprocal.  It is important that barriers be removed to the export of U.S. goods into your markets, and that we reduce our trade deficit with your country,” said Mr. Trump.

The strategic cooperation to deal with the challenges in Asia Pacific would continue, Mr, Modi said: “The increasing possibilities for enhancing cooperation in order to protect our strategic interests will continue to determine the dimensions of our partnership.  We will continue to work with the USA in this region.”

Mr. Trump said he always had a deep admiration for India and its people, and a “profound appreciation for your rich culture, heritage and traditions.”

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 5:17:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/modi-meets-trump/article19151643.ece

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