Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump will meet for the first time on June 26 during the Indian leader’s two-day visit to the United States, with their discussions expected to set the agenda for strengthening the bilateral strategic partnership.
“Their discussions will provide a new direction for deeper bilateral engagement on issues of mutual interest and consolidation of multi-dimensional strategic partnership between India and the US,” the Indian external affairs ministry said in a statement on Ju ne 12th.
The White House said the leaders can be expected to set forth a “common vision” for expanding the US-India “partnership” in an “ambitious and worthy way”. U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by phone to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week and said he looked forward to playing host to a visit by Modi to Washington.
President Trump is looking forward to “advancing our common priorities — fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and reforms and expanding security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region”, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.
Trump saw India as a “true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world. The two discussed opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the US and India in broad areas such as the economy and defense,” it said. Modi said he had “also invited President Trump to visit India
The US statement added that Trump and Modi resolved to “stand shoulder to shoulder in the global fight against terrorism”. Modi had congratulated Trump after his election win in November, saying he appreciated his “friendship” with India.
During the US election campaign, Trump wooed Indian-American voters and was largely positive about India. He had praised Modi for championing bureaucratic reform and economic growth.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to arrive in Washington DC on June 25 and hold talks with President Donald Trump the following day, the Ministry of External Affairs said. This will be his first visit to the US after Trump became president earlier this year. Contentious issues such as the Paris Climate Change Agreement and H1-B visa are likely to figure in the talks between the two leaders.
The White House said Trump spoke with Modi to congratulate him on the outcome of recent state-level elections. Trump expressed support for Modi’s economic reform agenda. “President Trump also said he looks forward to hosting Prime Minister Modi in Washington later this year,” the White House said in a statement. No date for the visit was mentioned.
Terrorism is expected to figure significantly on the agenda of both countries, according to officials and experts. The issue of America’s H-1B visas for highly skilled foreigners could be next for India, and trade for the US.
The US has emerged as a top arms supplier to India and the two sides will be looking to move forward with deals such as unarmed drones that India wants for its navy, Reuters reported citing sources in New Delhi.
Equally important, the two leaders, who have spoken three times on phone since Trump’s election last November, will use the meeting to strike a personal rapport for the future. Their officials have met and interacted over phone multiple times.
The US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and Trump’s harsh remarks could come up, but Indian officials have said that climate change was never going to figure prominently in discussions with this White House, knowing where it stands on the issue.
Another area for discussion between the two leaders is Trump’s efforts for stricter norms for the H1-B visa program — often used by IT companies to hire Indian engineers in the US. Terrorism is another major area to be discussed during the talks.
Bilateral trade between the 2 nations could find a prominent place during discussions. The US trade deficit with India is among those Trump has tasked the US commerce department to investigate and recommend correctives.
Trump recently pulled US out of the Paris accord, accusing India of receiving “billions of dollars” in exchange for signing it. India hit back saying there was no truth in Trump’s claims. “First of all, there is absolutely no reality. India signed the Paris agreement not because of pressure from any country nor greed. We signed the agreement because of our commitment to protecting the environment,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said at a press conference.
Trump’s “America first” policy has also put a considerable strain on Indian tech companies’ earnings. The Trump administration is also looking to put a cap on the H1-B work visa, there by putting thousands of Indian engineers at risk of losing their jobs.
It is expected that Modi-Trump discussions will provide a new direction for deeper bilateral engagement. This will be the first meeting between the two leaders, the ministry added. “Prime Minister will hold official talks with President Trump on June 26. Their discussions will provide a new direction for deeper bilateral engagement on issues of mutual interest and consolidation of multi-dimensional strategic partnership between India and the US,” the ministry said.