Will build forward-looking vision with Trump: Modi ahead of US visit | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Will build forward-looking vision with Trump: Modi ahead of US visit

Terrorism is expected to be a top topic of discussion, with expanding defence ties, trade and the vexatious issue of H-1B visas also on the cards.

india Updated: Jun 23, 2017 23:42 IST
Yashwant Raj
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to Donald Trump on the phone a few times, but will meet him for the first time.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to Donald Trump on the phone a few times, but will meet him for the first time.(Reuters File)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will visit the US on Saturday, has said he is looking forward to an “in depth exchange of views” with President Donald Trump and his cabinet colleagues and forging a “forward looking vision for our partnership”.

The two leaders have spoken on phone a few times, starting with the morning after Trump’s election victory in November 2016, but this will be their first meeting. Modi referred to those calls in a Facebook post: “Our conversations have touched upon our common intent to take forward our productive all round engagement for the mutual benefit of our people.

“I look forward to this opportunity to have an in depth exchange of views on further consolidating the robust and wide-ranging partnership between India and the United States.”

Terrorism is expected to be a top topic of discussion, with expanding defence ties, trade and the vexatious issue of H-1B visas also on the cards. There has been much speculation whether Modi will raise the obviously thorny visa issue on his first meeting with Trump, but a top Indian grade official has said it is definitely on the table.

Though Modi did not go into the specifics of his upcoming discussions with Trump, he wrote that ties between India and the US were “multi-layered and diverse, supported by not just governments but all the stakeholders on both sides”.

He added: “I look forward to building a forward looking vision for our partnership with the new administration in the United States under President Trump.”

Modi meets Trump and his cabinet colleagues only on Monday. He is expected to first meet Trump in a one-on-one, followed by a meeting with their respective delegations. However, neither side has officially announced the schedule yet.

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar is already in the US, wrapping up preparations for the visit. He was scheduled to meet secretary of state Rex Tillerson on Friday.

The White House was expected to announce the full schedule of the meetings on Friday evening and, possibly, the range of issues the two leaders could cover. Announcing the visit earlier, the White House had said Trump “looks forward to discussing ways to strengthen ties between the United States and India and to advance our common priorities — fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and reforms, and expanding security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Modi will also meet CEOs of leading American companies and the diaspora. The meeting with the diaspora is among his first publicly announced engagements, and takes place on Sunday in a hotel just outside Washington.

He is expected to leave for the Netherlands, his next destination, shortly after his meetings with Trump and his team on Monday.