PM Narendra Modi invites Donald Trump, his family to India

PM Narendra Modi invites Donald Trump, his family to India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald Trump, to lead an American delegation of entrepreneurs to India during his first meeting with the US President at the White House on Monday. The two leaders have spoken over phone thric before this meeting.

Trump has so far focused on outreach to China, India's other strategic rival, as he looks to Beijing to rein in nuclear-armed North Korea. In a concrete indication of that, the U.S.is set to offer a $2 billion sale of USA -made unarmed drones to help in surveillance of the Indian Ocean.

The US responded in equal measure by making the pre-summit announcement of naming Syed Salahuddin, chief of Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, as a "global terrorist" and putting counter-terrorism cooperation, including in Kashmir, at the nub of their bilateral relationship.

"Eliminating terrorism is among the topmost priorities for us", Modi told reporters in his joint address with Trump at the White House. After shaking Trump's hand, Modi went in for a third and final public hug - resting his head first near Trump's left shoulder, then near his right.

As they met, a Pentagon agency said the US State Department has approved the possible sale to India of a Boeing C-17 transport aircraft with an estimated cost of US$366 million.

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Trump and Modi share a populist streak and a knack for social media, but their economic nationalist agendas could clash.

Trump was also warm but made clear he sees a need for more balance in the US-India trade relationship in keeping with his campaign promise to expand American exports and create more jobs at home.

Last year, U.S. trade with India totaled an estimated US$114.8 billion and U.S. trade deficit with India was US$30.8 billion dollars, according to U.S. official figures. India has its own concerns, including over regulatory barriers faced by its producers of generic medicinal drugs. The administration is also set to offer a $2 billion sale of US -made unarmed drones to help in surveillance of the Indian Ocean.

Trump said he would like a trading relationship that is "fair and reciprocal".

Ashok Sajjanhar, a former Indian diplomat, said that India is hopeful but apprehensive.

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Carlos Barria / Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump wave as India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves the White House after a visit, in Washington, U.S., June 26, 2017.

Modi said battling terror and destroying terrorist hideouts would be an important part of mutual cooperation. He'll also want to learn about the administration strategy to stabilize Afghanistan, where India has committed $3 billion in aid since 2001.

Any differences over issues such as immigration and climate change were kept behind closed doors and they instead vowed to work more closely on combatting terrorism, the war in Afghanistan and defense cooperation.

Modi, under a program titled "Make in India", has been looking for foreign companies to set up production in India.

Reforms in these areas should address the range of trade barriers that impede businesses and manufacturers in the U.S. from competing fairly in India, such as high tariffs on a range of products that limit USA exports, forced localisation measures, remaining foreign ownership restrictions, insufficient protection of intellectual property rights, troublesome regulatory barriers, and inefficient government approvals, it said.

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