PM Modi invites Trump, his family to India

US clears sale of Guardian drones to India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump vowed to fight against terrorism even as they enlisted terrorist groups such as Al-Qa'ida, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and D-Company with American designating the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin.

Modi in turn made Trump smile by hailing the property tycoon's reputation as dealmaker.
"He went to the White House at the invitation of President Trump", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said and quoted President Trump who said yesterday, "The relationship between India and the United State has never been stronger and has never been better". "I will also call on King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and meet Queen Maxima", Modi had said in a Facebook post before departing on his three-nation tour. "This is a visit of great significance which will lead to closer ties with a valued friend", Modi tweeted.

The apparently jovial tone was in contrast to what had been predicted to be a tough meeting.

Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are both close advisers to President Trump.

Indian officials reject suggestions that Modi's "Make in India" platform is protectionist and complain about the USA regulatory process for generic pharmaceuticals and rules on fruit imports.

A proposed overhaul of H-1B visas - used by thousands of Indian software engineers to work in the United States - has caused concern in New Delhi.

Trump accused India of receiving "billions" of dollars in return for signing the accord, an allegation that India strongly refuted. There was also a second hug before Modi left the White House.

They assessed that this position is only expected to grow in the coming years as a result of developments in both India and Europe.

Before going to the White House, Modi met separately with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. "Fears that Trump would not be an ally to India, like at least three of his predecessors, have proved unfounded". India and the USA also urged Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch cross-border terror strikes. "We urge President Trump and Prime Minister Modi to move quickly to review bilateral trade relations and take concrete actions to meet the two leaders' goals: expediting regulatory processes, ensuring technology and innovation are appropriately fostered, valued, and protected, and increasing market access in areas such as agriculture, information technology, and manufactured goods and services", the AFTI said.

While the Trump administration hopes to "deepen" its relationship with India, the official added that they are "also interested in continuing our cooperation with Pakistan" and are "concerned about tensions between Indian and Pakistan".

The joint statement announced increased cooperation to prevent travel by terrorists and to disrupt global recruitment efforts by terrorists by expanding intelligence-sharing and operational-level counter-terror cooperation. Such moves are likely to be welcomed by USA foreign policy chiefs, who have underlined the need for additional information sharing in the ongoing fight against ISIS.

Congress leader Manish Tewari suggested that juxtaposed to the joint statement, the remarks of both the leaders emphasised on the divergence in the relationship of both the countries rather than convergence.

On security issues, both USA and Indian leaders emphasised the importance of combating terrorism, including intelligence exchanges.

The two leaders also called North Korea's pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programs a "grave threat" to global peace.

Trump repeatedly thanked Modi for visiting the USA and the White House, saying he enjoyed their "very productive conversation". However, it s unclear if the president raised any concerns during his meetings with Modi.

India is among the nations singled out by the Trump administration for their trade surpluses with the US, and it is also reviewing a visa program used heavily by skilled Indian workers.

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