Trade, Iran and 5G dominate PM Modi, President Trump bilateral meet

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi met with United States President, Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The two leaders discussed issues such as trade, Iran and 5G communications networks.

“We have become great friends and our countries have never been closer,” President Trump told PM Modi.

The US President also said that the two countries would “certainly work together on trade”, a subject that has emerged as a major source of friction between the two nations. Trade was key after President Trump yesterday called for the withdrawal of retaliatory tariffs imposed by India, saying it was “unacceptable”.

“I think we’re going to have some very big things to announce… Very big trade deal… We’re doing some very big things with India in terms of trade, in terms of manufacturing,” Mr. Trump added.

Mr, Modi’s did not mention trade but instead reassured that two nations have a “far-sighted and positive” vision.

However, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale at a press conference said, “It was agreed that trade ministers of both countries would meet on an early date and would try to sort out these issues. Both US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and their Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were in the room. Now, we expect an early meeting.”

India earlier this month slapped tariffs on 28 US products in retaliation to Washington’s withdrawal of Preferential Trade Status to India.

Iran was a key topic amid rising tensions between the Gulf nation and the United States. India has stopped buying oil from Iran, one of its top suppliers. India is worried about the instability in crude prices, as it would deeply hinder growth.

US feels threatened about India purchasing Huawei equipment for 5G technology. The US is pressing all its allies to shun Huawei in their 5G, networks on security grounds.

It was expected the two nations discuss the  US$ 5 billion deal with Russia for the S-400 long range missile, but it seems to have missed the agenda this time around.

Source : Various