Modi In US

WASHINGTON — Hugging outside the White House June 26, President Donald Trump and In dia’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi heralded an increasingly close strategic partnership as the U.S. branded a top militant from neighboring Pakistan as a “global terrorist.”

Trump declared he was “true friend” of India and said relations between the two largest democracies have never been better. But there were some tensions in the inaugural meeting between the two populist leaders. On trade, Trump demanded fewer barriers for American companies exporting to India.

Speaking in the Rose Garden after their talks, Trump said: “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. We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism.”

Modi, a Hindu nationalist but also leader of a nation with nearly 175 million Muslims, did not use the same, charged terminology. He stressed the importance of “doing away” with terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens, apparently reflecting Indian concerns about militants based in Pakistan, India’s historical archrival. He said the U.S. and India will enhance intelligence-sharing.

Hours before Modi’s arrival, the State Department imposed sanctions on Syed Salahuddin, the Pakistan-based leader of Hizbul Mujahideen, the main rebel group that fights against Indian control in the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir. India’s foreign ministry hailed the move.

Trump has so far focused on outreach to China, India’s other strategic rival, as he looks to Beijing to rein in nuclear-armed North Korea. But Washington and New Delhi share concerns about China’s rise as a military power that have underpinned increasingly close relations in the past decade.

The Trump administration says it want to provide India with improved defense technology. The State Department June 26 approved the $365 million sale of a C-17 military transport aircraft to India. The administration is also set to offer a $2 billion sale of U.S.-made unarmed drones to help in surveillance of the Indian Ocean.

Although Modi’s two-day Washington visit, which began June 25, is lower-key than his previous three trips to the U.S. since he took office in 2014, it has included plenty of face-time with Trump. Modi later joined the president and first lady for dinner – the first dinner Trump has hosted for a foreign dignitary at the White House, although he has hosted the leaders of Japan and China at his resort in Florida.Trump and Modi share a populist streak and a knack for social media, but their economic nationalist agendas could clash. While Trump champions the idea of “America First” and wants to stop the migration of jobs overseas, Modi has his own drive to boost manufacturing at home, dubbed “Make in India.”

India is among the nations singled out by the Trump administration for their trade surpluses with the U.S., and it is also reviewing a visa program used heavily by skilled Indian workers. The U.S. deficit in goods and services with India last year was about $30 billion.

“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,” Trump said.

But Trump also lauded Modi’s economic stewardship, and the praise was mutual. Modi, who invited the president and his family to visit India, extolled Trump’s leadership qualities. He said the president’s “vast and successful experience in the business world will lend an aggressive and forward-looking agenda to our relations.”

The personal chemistry between the two leaders could prove as important as policy in setting the tone for the future. They appeared keen to show they got along – hugging twice during their joint appearance. They did not take questions.

When it comes to terrorism, Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Wilson Center, said the two leaders have a similar worldview – that “it needs to be destroyed wherever it rears its murderous head.”

He said the designation of Salahuddin shows that Washington is willing to work closely with New Delhi on terrorism-related matters, although it remains to be seen if that signals a tougher policy toward Pakistan. India accuses Pakistan-based militants of launching attacks on its soil.

The two leaders voiced a joint interest in bringing stability to Afghanistan, where India has committed $3 billion in aid since 2001. However, in their public remarks, they skirted the contentious issue of climate change. New Delhi has been irked by Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris accord.

After their June 26 meeting, Trump treated Modi to cocktails and dinner at the White House night and the two shared a laugh when he pointed to their social media dominance. Trump’s @realdonaldtrump Twitter handle has 32.8 million followers, while Modi’s Twitter game draws more than 31 million followers.

Trump playfully said he was “proud to announce” that “Prime Minister Modi and I are world leaders in social media – we’re believers – giving the citizens of our countries the opportunity to hear directly from their elected officials, and for us to hear directly from them.”

“I guess it’s worked very well in both cases,” Trump said.

Modi offered yet another embrace as he departed the White House. After shaking Trump’s hand, Modi went in for a third and final public hug — resting his head first near Trump’s left shoulder, then near his right. Trump welcomed the parting gesture, patting Modi kindly on the back.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in the United States on the second leg of his three-nation tour, left for Amsterdam after he met US President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday. During the meeting between the two leaders focused on pushing the strategic ties. Trump also hosted PM Modi for a ‘working dinner’, in a first, at the White House.
At the joint press statement, President Donald Trump described US as a “true friend” to India and said both the countries are working towards eradicating radical Islamic terrorism. Trump also congratulated India for being the fastest growing economy and said that he looks forward to invest more US energy in India. Prime Minister Modi expressed his gratitude to Trump and invited him and his family to visit India.
During the meeting with CEOs on Sunday, PM Modi had asked them to invest in India stating that it is ‘a business-friendly destination and that things will only get better once the game-changing tax reform is implemented’. Modi also addressed the Indian diaspora at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner, Virginia and talked about the surgical strikes conducted by India after Uri terror attack last year. He said that the strikes proved that India can stand in its own defence when needed.

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