Prime Minister Narendra Modi met United States President Donald Trump ahead of the opening of the G20 summit in the city of Osaka in Japan on Friday to discuss bilateral and global matters. This was the first meeting between the leaders since Modi’s re-election last month.
The two leaders met shortly after a trilateral meeting that also involved Japan. They discussed a host of key matters, including trade, defence relations and 5G communications networks, The Indian Express reported.
The prime minister thanked the US president for expressing his “love towards India” in a letter delivered by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his visit to India this week. “We have talked about various issues,” Modi said. “The India-US vision is far-sighted and positive.”
Trump said the two countries would focus on trade during the talks. “We have become great friends and our countries have never been closer,” NDTV quoted him as saying. “I can say that with surety. We will work together in many ways, including military, we will be discussing trade today.”
Trade relations and tariffs have been a sore point between the two countries in recent times. On Thursday, Trump said ahead of the meeting with Modi that he would raise the matter of increased tariffs on American products, saying it was unacceptable and “must be withdrawn”. The day before, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had talked to his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar about the impasse in bilateral trade relations. India had imposed tariffs on 28 US products after the US withdrew its trade privileges. Earlier this month, Trump had said India’s tariff on American motorcycles was too high and not acceptable to him. His comments came even after India halved the tariff from 100% to 50%.
“You did indeed have a landslide election and that was a great election,” Trump told Modi, according to NDTV. “You have done a great job in pulling everyone together. Many factions were fighting, I remember when you first took over and we were talking, they were fighting with each other and now they are loving you.”
The US president said it was a “a fantastic tribute” to Modi and his abilities. “Thank you for the relationship and the friendship,” he added. “I think we will have something big to announce. Very big trade deals. We will have very big things with India in terms of trade, in terms of manufacturing, in terms of manufacturing 5Gs.”
At the trialteral meeting between US, India and Japan, the Indo-Pacific region, connectivity and infrastructure development were extensively discussed, reported PTI. It was the second trialteral meeting.
The discussion between Modi, Trump and Shinzo Abe focused on how the three countries can together work together to build an open, stable and rule-based Indo-Pacific region. Modi highlighted “the importance India attaches to” the grouping.
Later, the prime minister held bilateral talks with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, and discussed ways to deepen cooperation in trade and investment, energy security and counter-terrorism, PTI reported. “Our talks today will add great strength to bilateral ties between our nations,” Modi tweeted.