Modi, Trump hold ‘open & productive’ meeting; discuss trade, 5G, Iran issues

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Donald Trump, bilateral talks, US, India, Iran, oil, sanctions, 5G, The Federal, English news website
The two leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump pledged to provide a "strong leadership" to the world to address pressing global challenges like terrorism. Photo/PTI.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday (June 28) held a “very open and productive” meeting with US President Donald Trump on various topics, including bilateral trade issues, as the two leaders pledged to provide a “strong leadership” to the world to address pressing global challenges like terrorism.

Modi, who is in Osaka, Japan to attend the G20 Summit, thanked President Trump for expressing his “love towards India” in a letter delivered by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week. The Prime Minister said that India stands committed to further deepen economic and cultural relations with the US and the two leaders discussed Iran, 5G, bilateral relations, and defence ties on the sidelines of the summit.

“The talks with @POTUS were wide ranging. We discussed ways to leverage the power of technology, improve defence and security ties as well as issues relating to trade,” Modi tweeted after the meeting.

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Briefing reporters, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said that the meeting was “very open and productive”. “The two leaders had a very warm discussion. President Trump congratulated the Prime Minister on his victory and Prime Minister in particular noted that Trump had sent a very warm letter to him through Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,” he said.

In a readout of the Trump-Modi meeting, the White House said that the two leaders met to exchange perspectives on progress in the strategic partnership and develop new ideas to bring it to the next level. The leaders acknowledged the unprecedented breadth and depth of US-India bilateral ties, including economic, trade, energy, defense, security, counter-terrorism and space, it said.

“The leaders affirmed that, as responsible democracies, a close partnership between the United States and India is central to global peace and stability,” the readout said. “They reiterated their commitment to provide strong leadership to address global challenges and build prosperity for their citizens in the decades to come,” it added.

On Iran, the foreign secretary said that Modi outlined India’s energy concerns as well as worries over peace and stability in the region. He pointed out that, although Iran supplies 11 per cent of India’s energy, it has reduced oil imports from Iran though it has affected the Indian economy.

“We have been able to sustain this position, and we also had our diaspora in the region; we have energy requirements in the region; we have economic interest in the region; therefore it is in India’s fundamental interest to maintain peace and stability in the region,” the Prime Minister was quoted as telling President Trump.

Modi also recalled that India has deployed some of the Indian Navy ships in the region to protect the Indian flagged vessels passing through the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. “This was appreciated very much by President Trump and they had a brief discussion, and the President expressed his hope that the oil prices will remain stable. He (Trump) talked about what the US was doing to ensure that stability is maintained in the Gulf that oil prices were stable,” he said.

Both sides also agreed that they will remain in touch on the issue of Iran and to maintain regional stability. The US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of landmark 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and the six world powers. To reduce Iran’s crude oil export to zero, the US ended waivers on May 2 that had allowed the top buyers of Iranian oil, including India, to continue their imports for six months.

India, complying with the US sanctions, has ended all imports of oil from Iran. On the issue of 5G telecommunications technology, Modi and Trump discussed the technical and business opportunities that this new area provides for cooperation between India and the US.

Modi outlined that India was going to have a billion users of this technology in the sense that it was the second largest market in the world.

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