Netanyahu hails 'historic' visit by Indian prime minister

Alain Brian
Juin 26, 2017

The White House said the leaders can be expected to set forth a "common vision" for expanding the US-India "partnership" in an "ambitious and worthy way".

Modi's visit to Washington, which starts today, takes place amid uncertainty over the relationship because of differences on trade and other issues.

"The whole world is looking at India". But Washington and New Delhi share concerns about China's rise as a military power.

Prime minister Modi is to interact with Indian-Americans in Washington DC suburb of Virginia later tonight. White House aides focused on something even more Trumpian.

The working dinner that Trump is hosting for Modi is the first of its kind under the current USA administration. Trump wrote late Saturday.

"That shows the kind of leaders they are: Both are innovators; both are business executives", said the administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to preview the visit. "And I think that will come through in the visit on Monday", the official said.

"There is much to celebrate in our country's relationship with India, the world's largest democracy, and in the enormous contributions that Indian-Americans make in our country", said Congressman David Schweikert.

He said their success is due to the supportive environment in the U.S., and his government is working to provide the same environment back home.

Modi's visit will lack the type of public display of affection that marked his visit to the Obama White House in 2014, when he and Obama visited the Martin Luther King Jr. "India has four decades' experience in fighting terrorism, and we share the USA administration's determination to defeat this scourge", he said. Noting that India ranks 130th out of 190 countries in a 2017 World Bank Report on ease of doing business, they said that a "long and growing" list of stringent regulatory practices is stifling American businesses in India.

The offer is still subject to congressional approval. The Indian Navy said the drones would help monitor the Indian coastline and the Indian Ocean, which is more frequently being patrolled by the Chinese Navy. India's archrival Pakistan would also likely be opposed to the drone sale. The staff member was not authorized to discuss the potential deal and requested anonymity.

"The U.S. wants to treat India as a major defense partner in concrete terms [on a par] with our closest allies and partners", says the senior White House official.

"The creative and entrepreneurial energy of our engineers, scientists and researchers, and their free movement between both countries, continue to help India and the US retain their innovation edge and maintain competitiveness in the knowledge economy", he said. He previously visited Mumbai as a businessman, and he has Trump-branded properties in the country.

There is angst in New Delhi that Trump has not paid adequate attention to India, especially in contrast to his repeated praise for China and its leader, Xi Jinping.

On the issue of climate change, United States withdrawal has weakened the Paris Agreement.

Trump called out India while announcing that decision, slamming the country for apparently demanding "billions" in foreign aid for signing the agreement.

But it is still unclear if Modi, during his meeting with Trump, will bring up this vexing issue that is agitating captains of India's booming IT industry. U.S.is seeking stronger Indian protection of intellectual property rights, reductions in tariffs and narrowing of the $30 billion trade deficit.

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