Trump India visit ends with no trade deal

Trump India visit ends with no trade deal
Modi shakes hands with Trump prior to their meeting in Delhi.
NEW DELHI, FEB 25 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 2/25/2020 12:32:00 PM IST

US President Donald Trump concluded a showy state visit to India on Tuesday with plenty of impressive photos but without major announcements including a long-awaited trade deal between the two countries, except agreements on defence and energy etc.

US-Indian trade relations have worsened in recent years as Trump’s “America First” aim of reducing deficits has collided with the “Make in India” mantra of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Speaking at the end of a short tour, Trump said only that they had made “tremendous progress” towards an accord. “The United States has to be treated fairly and India understands that,” he told a news conference, saying that “if a deal happens with India, it will be towards the end of the year.”

Under pressure to deliver ahead of his November re-election battle, Trump has pressed for greater access to the vast Indian market of 1.3 billion people for US dairy producers and makers of medical goods.

Donald Trump said Tuesday he was optimistic about the prospects of inking a trade deal with India despite moves by both sides that created doubt about the ability to reach an agreement.

Trump emerged from a pair of meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi citing progress toward a deal but offering no details.

However, Trump and Modi agreed to boost defence and trade ties between their two countries and to forge a “comprehensive global strategic partnership.”

“Our teams have made tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement and I’m optimistic we can reach a deal that will be of great importance to both countries,” Trump told reporters on the second and final day of his whirlwind, 36-hour, first official visit to India. 

The day began with an elaborate welcome ceremony in front of the grand Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace in New Delhi, continuing the pomp and pageantry the Indian government had lavished on Trump a day earlier.

Prime Minister Modi and President Trump pledged to deepen defence and security cooperation, especially through greater maritime and space domain awareness and information sharing; joint cooperation; exchange of military liaison personnel; advanced training and expanded exercises between all services and special forces; closer collaboration on co-development and co-production of advanced defence components, equipment and platforms; and partnership between their defence industries.

In reply to a question, Trump said issues involving the CAA are up to India and asserted that Prime Minister Modi wants people to have religious freedom.

“We did talk about religious freedom. Prime Minister Modi wants people to have religious freedom in India...If you look back India has worked hard for religious freedom,” Trump said.

On CAA, he said, “I don’t want to say anything on CAA. It is up to India. I hope it will take the right decision for its people.”

Asked if he discussed the incidents of violence taking place during his visit, he said he didn’t discuss individual attacks and “that is up to India” to deal with it.

Describing the Indo-US relations as “one of the most important partnerships of the 21st century”, Modi said, “increasing defence and security cooperation between two countries is a very key aspect of the strategic partnership between India and the US. We also agreed on new mechanism to contain drug trafficking.”

After the ceremonial reception on the second and final day of his whirlwind visit, Trump and his wife Melania paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and planted a sapling at the memorial of the Father of the Nation.

Trump also attended a banquet hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan and left for the US late in the evening after his nearly 36-hour-long visit.


Defence deals worth USD 3 billion: India and the US on Tuesday finalised defence deals worth USD 3 billion under which 30 military helicopters will be procured from two American defence majors for Indian armed forces. 

Under a USD 2.6 billion deal, India will buy 24 MH-60 Romeo helicopters from Lockheed Martin for the Indian Navy. Another contract to acquire six AH-64E Apache helicopters for USD 800 million from aerospace giant Boeing has also been sealed.

3 bilateral pacts inked: The two countries have concluded three bilateral agreements in the health and energy sectors. Two of the agreements finalised include a memorandum of understanding on mental health, and one that deals with the safety of medical products.

A Letter of Cooperation was also signed by Indian Oil Corporation and ExxonMobil India LNG Limited, with Chart Industries of the US.

Trump flags ‘highest’ India tariffs: Flagging the high duties, US President Donald Trump said India imposed the highest tariffs on US products and cited the case of Harley-Davidson bike. “When India sends to us, there is virtually no tariff. For the most part, there are absolutely no tariff. I just said that’s unfair and we are working it out,” Trump said. “India is probably the highest tariff nation in the world. We have to stop that. I think we are understanding each other,” Trump said.

5G network: “During our visit we discussed the importance of a secure 5G wireless network and the need for this emerging technology to be a tool for freedom, progress, prosperity, not to do anything with where it could be even conceived as a conduit for suppression and censorship.”

US exports to India: “Our teams have made tremendous progress for a comprehensive trade agreement & I’m optimistic we can reach a deal of great importance to both countries. Since I took office, US exports to India are up nearly 60% & exports of high quality American energy have grown by 500%”, Trump stated. 

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