United States President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Tuesday hold extensive talks on the bilateral strategic partnership between the two countries, Hindustan Times reported. The meeting between the two leaders in Hyderabad House will be the second full fledged discussion since Trump took charge in January 2017.
Much of Trump’s speech on Monday had effusive praise for Modi and India. “Melania and I travelled 8,000 miles around the world to deliver the message America loves India, America respects India and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people,” he had said. Addressing a huge crowd in 1,10,000-seat Motera stadium at the “Namaste Trump” event, the US president spoke about a “fantastic trade deal” between the two countries and announced a defence deal worth $3-billion.
The trade deal discussion will be a top priority during the meeting. India and the United States have recently hit each other with retaliatory tariffs. Over the past month, both sides have resolved to strengthen trade ties, but attempts at working out an agreement remain elusive.
The leaders will sign defence deals and at least five memoranda of understanding on matters ranging from civil nuclear cooperation to natural gas and trade facilitation. They will also review the global and regional situation and discuss ways to take forward bilateral relations.
According to Indian and US officials, the talks will include trade and investment, defence and security, counter-terrorism, H1B visas, energy security, religious freedom in the country, the proposed peace deal with Taliban in Afghanistan and situation in the Indo-Pacific.
However, in a sign of the underlying political tensions in India, violent protests broke out in Delhi over the Citizenship Amendment Act. Vehicles, shops, houses and a petrol pump were set on fire. A police constable and four protesters died in violence that erupted over opposition to the amended law. In his speech Trump extolled India’s rise as a stable and prosperous democracy as one of the achievements of the century. “You have done it as a tolerant country,” he had said. “And you have done it as a great, free country.”
Manmohan Singh to not attend state banquet
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh turned down an invite on Monday to the state banquet organised in honour of Trump’s first visit to India, NDTV reported. Singh conveyed his regret to the office of President Ram Nath Kovind citing health reasons.
The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and the Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury will also not attend the dinner at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Both Singh and Azad had first reportedly confirmed their presence and then declined. Reports also said that the Congress party is upset about its chief Sonia Gandhi not being invited.