Day after denouncing 'unacceptable' Indian tariffs, Trump softens stance during bilateral with Modi

PM Modi also bought time to tackle the contentious issue of tariffs in a ‘very open and productive’ meeting with Trump, as both sides agreed to an early meeting of their commerce ministers.

Published: 28th June 2019 10:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th June 2019 08:44 AM   |  A+A-

President Donald Trump meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Friday, June 28, 2019. | AP

By Express News Service

OSAKA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday bought time to tackle the contentious issue of tariffs in a ‘very open and productive’ meeting with US President Donald Trump, as both sides agreed to an early meeting of their commerce ministers to address the differences.

Held on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, the meeting ended on a positive note, which was reflected in a White House tweet: “Meeting just concluded: President@realDonaldTrump and Prime Minister@narendramodi of India shared ideas to reduce America’s trade deficit, enhance defense cooperation, and safeguard peace and stability throughout the Indian Ocean and Pacific region.”

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said there were several issues on the table, including defence relations, Iran, 5G technology, Indo-Pacific situation and peace and stability in Asia. India reiterated that West Asia was important to it since its vast diaspora in the Gulf and its socio-political relationships in the region could not be compromised.

On Iran oil sanctions, India said it could not wish Tehran away because of the huge domestic energy needs.

ALSO READ | Narendra Modi calls for concensus among nations for inclusive global development at G20 summit

On 5G, the PM said it made sense to say that India, as the second largest market, would influence global trends adding there was scope for the two to use it to their mutual advantage.

Trump, in his opening remarks said India-US ties had never been as close.

The main US push came in the area of defence, where the two countries have been trying to scale up the strategic ties through technology flow and military-to-military engagements.

Insiders said, “The US did bring up the Indian commitment to Russia on the purchase of the Triumph S-400 air defence shield, which America is objecting to.”

The US is pushing India to commit to defence purchases to equip all its three arms — from aircraft carriers to fighters, gunships and artillery entailing over $10 billion worth of orders to US defence majors.

“While some critical technology has been offered, India does not want to commit itself without studying the context, while not being eager to jettison the valued relationship with Russia,” the source said.

India has in principle accepted to pursue US arms tech, especially critical technology.

Among his other engagements, Modi had a couple of trilaterals: one with China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, called RIC (Russia-India-China) meeting; and the other with Trump and Japan’s Shinzo Abe, called JAI (Japan-America-India) trilateral.

5-‘I’ formula for digital economy

Modi sought consensus for inclusive and sustainable global development while presenting his 5-‘I’ vision to maximise digital technology, during an intervention at a G20 session. The five ‘I’s are Inclusiveness, Indigenisation, Innovation, Investment in infrastructure and International cooperation

Indian Navy cover for oil tankers

On Iran, Modi told Trump India has deployed its Navy to protect Indian flagged vessels passing through the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. “This was appreciated very much by President Trump...(who) expressed his hope that the oil prices will remain stable,” Foreign Secretary Gokhale said.


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