Modi and Trump headed for Davos - will they meet?
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Modi and Trump headed for Davos - will they meet?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Davos for two days from January 22 and the White House has said US President Donald Trump is also going, but had no dates or details to announce as yet.

world Updated: Jan 10, 2018 19:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
Prime Minister Narendra Modi,US President Donald Trump,India-US ties
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington on June 27, 2017. (PTI)

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to be in Davos for the annual meeting of the world’ s top business leaders. They might even meet but there have been no announcements to that effect by either side.

Modi will be in Davos for two days from January 22, the external affairs ministry announced in Delhi earlier. The White House said on Tuesday Trump is also going, but had no dates or details to announce as yet.

There is a possibility of the two leaders meeting as it happens at such forums and gatherings. They last met on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in November, and before that during the G-20 Summit in July. Their first and substantive meeting was in June in Washington, along with their respective delegations.

“The president welcomes opportunities to advance his America First agenda with world leaders,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement earlier on Tuesday. “At this year’s World Economic Forum, the president looks forward to promoting his policies to strengthen American businesses, American industries and American workers.”

But she later told reporters at a daily briefing there were no details or meetings to announce.

Trump is the first US president to visit Davos in 20 years, with the WEF being seen as a clubby gathering of the world’s rich and elite. Trump’s presidential campaign held similar views about it in 2016.

Asked if the president’s position had evolved, Sanders said, “Our thinking hasn’t changed at all. Just to be extremely clear, the president’s message is very much the same here as it will be it was when he made many stops in Asia. This is very much an America First agenda. The president is still 100% focused and committed to promoting policies that promote strength for American businesses and the American worker. And that's going to be the same whether he’s in the US or any other place.”

Washington Examiner, a conservative leaning news publication speculated, without citing officials or sources, the “most important rationale in favour of Trump's attendance is the fact that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also attend the summit as its keynote speaker. That matters because India is the linchpin on which US geo-strategic interests will rise or fall in the 21st century.

“When it comes to these interests, there's India's increasingly wealthy 1.2 billion person market for high-value US goods like iPhones, integrated circuits, and medical devices. As India's economy grows, those exports will mean well-paying, sustainable US jobs.

“Then there's India’s contribution to stability in Asia and the Pacific, and its support for a democratic, rules-based international order.”

First Published: Jan 10, 2018 19:11 IST