Modi-Trump meet – Amidst Modi’s three-na­tion tour

SP's MAI - - MILITARY INDO-US RELATIONS - LT GEN­ERAL P.C. KA­TOCH (RETD)

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi met US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on June 26. Modi’s US trip start­ing June 25 was part of his three-na­tion tour com­menc­ing with Por­tu­gal. In Lisbon, Modi held dis­cus­sions with Por­tu­gal Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nio Costa on a host of in­ter­na­tional is­sues in­clud­ing ter­ror­ism, while both the Prime Min­is­ters launched a unique startup por­tal In­dia-Por­tu­gal In­ter­na­tional StartUp Hub (IPISH) which is ex­pected to tap into the strong com­ple­men­tar­i­ties be­tween In­dia and Por­tu­gal in the startup sec­tor; mu­tu­ally sup­port­ive en­tre­pre­neur­ial part­ner­ship. Ahead of Modi’s fifth visit to the US, For­eign Sec­re­tary Jais­hankar and NSA Ajit Do­val vis­ited Washington to pre­pare the grounds. Ex­pec­ta­tions from the Modi-Trump meet were kept low be­cause of is­sues like un­pre­dictabil­ity of Trump, H1B visa and re­port of US plans to halt de­vel­op­ment funds to In­dia in FY18 while keep­ing US aid to Pak­istan of $200 mil­lion un­touched. How­ever, few de­vel­op­ments took place be­fore the Modi-Trump meet;

 Lock­heed Martin signed agree­ment with In­dia’s Tata Ad­vance Sys­tems to pro­duce F-16 Block 70 fight­ers in In­dia amidst plans to shift all fu­ture pro­duc­tion from US to In­dia;

 US cleared sale of 22 Preda­tor drones to In­dia (man­u­fac­tured by Gen­eral Atomics) cost­ing some $2 to $3 bil­lion – hailed ‘game- changer’ in In­dian me­dia even though deal is not for ‘armed’ ver­sion;

 In a re­port ti­tled ‘Trans­form­ing In­dia from a Bal­anc­ing to Lead­ing Power’, US think tank At­lantic Coun­cil urged the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion that US will need In­dia to counter Beijing’s grow­ing in­flu­ence in the world;

 Bill seek­ing to re­voke Pak­istan’s sta­tus as ma­jor non-NATO ally (MNNA) to the US in­tro­duced in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and;

 US des­ig­nated Syed Salahud­din, Hzb-ul Mu­jahideen (HuM) as ‘global ter­ror­ist’.

There was vis­i­ble bon­homie be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Modi and Pres­i­dent Trump with lat­ter hail­ing Modi’s achieve­ments and terming him­self as In­dia’s ‘true friend’ in the White House. Both lead­ers had wide-rang­ing talks. Dur­ing the joint press con­fer­ence, main points men­tioned by Pres­i­dent Trump were: re­la­tion­ship be­tween In­dia and the United States has never been stronger and bet­ter; US is work­ing on cre­at­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties for In­di­ans; both coun­tries can help chart op­ti­mistic fu­ture, un­leash­ing new tech­nol­ogy, new in­fra­struc­ture, and the en­thu­si­asm of hard­work­ing peo­ple; im­por­tant that bar­ri­ers be re­moved to ex­port of US goods to In­dian

mar­kets, and re­duce bi­lat­eral trade deficit; hap­pi­ness over In­dian Air­lines re­cent or­der of 100 new US planes that will sup­port thou­sands and thou­sands of Amer­i­can jobs; look­ing for­ward to ex­port more en­ergy to In­dia; hap­pi­ness over Prime Min­is­ter Modi invit­ing Ivanka (Trump’s daugh­ter) to lead US del­e­ga­tion to the Global En­trepreneur­ship Sum­mit in In­dia; both US and In­dia hav­ing been struck by ter­ror­ism, are de­ter­mined to de­stroy ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tions and the rad­i­cal ide­ol­ogy that drives them – we will de­stroy rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ism; both mil­i­taries work­ing to en­hance co­op­er­a­tion and next month will join to­gether with Ja­panese navy in the largest mar­itime ex­er­cise ever con­ducted in In­dian Ocean; thanked In­dia peo­ple for con­tri­bu­tions to the ef­fort in Afghanistan, and join­ing US in ap­ply­ing new sanc­tions against North Korean regime.

Prime Min­is­ter Modi re­sponded by high­light­ing fol­low­ing: mu­tual trust, con­ver­gence of val­ues, pri­or­i­ties, con­cerns and in­ter­ests fo­cused on achieve­ment in co­op­er­a­tion, mu­tual sup­port and part­ner­ship, both coun­tries be­ing global en­gines of growth; top pri­or­ity for both is to pro­tect so­ci­ety from global chal­lenges like ter­ror­ism; both na­tions com­mit­ted to bi­lat­eral ar­chi­tec­ture for tak­ing strate­gic part­ner­ship to new heights; US con­sid­ered pri­mary part­ner for In­dia’s so­cial and eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion in all flag­ship pro­grams and schemes; com­mon pri­or­i­ties for both will be de­vel­op­ment of trade, com­merce, and in­vest­ment links in­volv­ing tech­nol­ogy, in­no­va­tion, knowl­edge-econ­omy sec­tors, ex­pan­sion and deep­en­ing of co­op­er­a­tion, fur­ther strengthening dig­i­tal part­ner­ship; mu­tual agree­ment to en­hance co­op­er­a­tion in fight­ing ter­ror­ism in­clud­ing elim­i­nat­ing sanc­tu­ar­ies, and safe havens; in­creas­ing in­sta­bil­ity, due to ter­ror­ism, in Afghanistan is com­mon con­cern – US to en­hance co­or­di­na­tion be­tween our two na­tions; com­mon in­ter­est to main­tain peace, sta­bil­ity, and pros­per­ity in Indo-Pa­cific; ap­pre­ci­a­tion of US strengthening of In­dia’s de­fence ca­pa­bil­i­ties; strengthening bi­lat­eral de­fence tech­nol­ogy and trade and man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ner­ship.

Prime Min­is­ter Modi in­vited Pres­i­dent Trump to visit In­dia. The US is al­ready In­dia’s largest arms sup­plier; arms worth ` 28,895 crore ($4.35 bil­lion) were con­tracted with the US dur­ing 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. This is only set to grow as In­dia’s arms need to pro­lif­er­ate even un­der the clause of joint pro­duc­tion. Con­sid­er­ing the US re­cent lean­ing to­wards Saudi Ara­bia be­cause of de­fence deals, it­self is rea- son for the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to warm up more to In­dia. How­ever, how much the US will act against Pak­istan ex­port­ing ter­ror re­mains to be seen. Des­ig­nat­ing Sayed Salahud­din global ter­ror­ist is un­likely to mat­ter much, given that US had done so for Hafiz Saeed too. All that has hap­pened is that post the US an­nounce­ment, Pak­istan has re­port­edly shifted Salahudeen to safe con­fines of Is­lam­abad. Of the 98 USdes­ig­nated ter­ror­ist groups glob­ally, 20 are in Af-Pak re­gion any­way and Pak­istan has free-hand in ex­port­ing ter­ror. The need of the hour is phys­i­cal ac­tion against ISI-pro­tected ter­ror­ist sanc­tu­ar­ies and in­fra­struc­ture in ad­di­tion to sanc­tions and other mea­sures.

The Indo-US strate­gic part­ner­ship nev­er­the­less is set to grow, with Prime Min­is­ter Modi’s visit be­ing very pro­duc­tive. Michael Kugel­man, Deputy Di­rec­tor and Se­nior As­so­ciate for South Asian Pro­gram at the Wil­son Cen­tre in Washington DC, says ‘We’re go­ing to see a de­fence re­la­tion­ship that re­ally takes off – now that In­dia is a ma­jor de­fence part­ner of the US, the sky is the limit for arms sales. The eco­nomic part­ner­ship will lag be­hind the se­cu­rity re­la­tion­ship, but the meet­ing and joint state­ment give cause to be­lieve that it will progress more ro­bustly than many of us would have ex­pected.’ Prime Min­is­ter Modi ad­dressed a group of In­dian-Amer­i­cans and In­di­ans in US at the Ritz Carl­ton in Vir­ginia on June 25. He also had a round ta­ble dis­cus­sion with top CEOs in the US in­clud­ing global giants like Ap­ple, Mi­crosoft, Google, Wall­mart, Cater­pil­lar, etc. The Nether­lands was the last leg of Prime Min­is­ter Modi’s three-na­tion tour where held bi­lat­eral talks with his coun­ter­part Mark Rutte. Ad­dress­ing a joint press meet with Rutte, Prime Min­is­ter Modi called Nether­lands as In­dia’s nat­u­ral part­ner, and that bi­lat­eral ties be­tween the two coun­tries will grow rapidly. Both coun­tries signed three MoUs in the fields of so­cial se­cu­rity, wa­ter co­op­er­a­tion and cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion. Modi thanked Nether­lands for back­ing In­dia’s Mis­sile Tech­nol­ogy Con­trol Regime (MTCR) mem­ber­ship, adding that the Nether­lands is the fifth largest in­vest­ment part­ner glob­ally and in the last three years it has emerged as third largest source of FDI in In­dia. Rutte com­mended Modi’s new ini­tia­tives in In­dia and said that Nether­lands is a key part­ner of In­dia which is world’s sec­ond big­gest econ­omy, and that for In­dia, the Nether­lands is the en­try point for Europe; Europe is In­dia’s big­gest trad­ing part­ner and 20 per cent of In­dia’s ex­port to Europe en­ters through the Nether­lands.

“We are ex­tremely pleased Pres­i­dent Trump and Prime Min­is­ter Modi have had ex­cel­lent de­lib­er­a­tions and the path for­ward for a game changer in US In­dia de­fense re­la­tions has been charted. Given the Sea Guardian’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties such a US of­fer demon­strates a ma­jor change in US pol­icy be­cause this type of air­craft ca­pa­bil­ity is only ex­ported to a very se­lect few of Amer­ica’s clos­est de­fense part­ners. Such an of­fer rep­re­sents tan­gi­ble im­ple­men­ta­tion of United States Congress’ des­ig­na­tion of In­dia as a ‘Ma­jor De­fense Part­ner.’” —Dr Vivek Lall, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, US and In­ter­na­tional Strate­gic De­vel­op­ment, Gen­eral Atomics

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi greets Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump dur­ing the Joint Press State­ment at the White House in Washington DC, USA, on June 26, 2017

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