Modi to Engage Trump at White House
Photo : President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will engage US President Donald Trump at the White House on June 26. The PM arrives on the evening of June 24 and will have dinner with community leaders of the Indian diaspora on June 25. The PM leaves for India on evening of June 26. On his way to Washington, the PM will stop over in Lisbon, Portugal, where he will hold talks with Prime Minister Antonio Costa of Portugal on June 25. On his return, he will stop over in Amsterdam and hold talks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte on June 27 and engage the Indian diaspora there. He will call on King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.
Reports say the White House will “roll out the Red Carpet” (reserved for special foreign guests) for Modi. Modi will be the first foreign leader to be hosted at the White House. The Trump Administration wants to strengthen relations with India. Trump and Modi will spend about five hours together in a working session that included a cocktail reception and dinner at the White House. The leaders of Japan and China were hosted separately at Trump’s private golf resort in Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
A US government official told reporters that President Trump considers India a critical partner in dealing with a host of global challenges including Islamic terrorists. Trump had expressed his admiration for India and the Indian American community during the campaign. He said, “India would have a true friend in the White House if he wins”. Many Indian Americans supported Trump in the campaign including raising large amounts of cash. Support for Trump was organized by Shalabh Shalli Kumar through the newly formed Republican Hindu Coalition.
The White House agenda will focus on fighting terrorism and promoting economic growth in both countries. The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Indian Foreign Secretary, Jaishankar, on June 23 to work out the agenda. The President wants defence partnership between US and India to flourish. The official added: “A strong India is good for the US. The President wants to build on promoting defence co-operation”.
It is expected that discussions will centre on accelerating defence co-operation and enhancing co-operation in energy technology and drilling. New anti-terrorism co--operation will be announced. And sales of arms and US drones will be finalized. Indian defence orders support thousands of American jobs. In addition, the number of foreign students in the US support a further 65,000 US jobs. Reporters will watch for any slipups in talks and the President’s tweets.