Trump hosts 'true friend' Modi for first one-on-one

Lincoln Stamp

Virginia [U.S.A.], June 26: The Indian diaspora in the United States showered praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his comprehensive speech as he addressed them here and said his efforts to make a better India are praiseworthy.

US President Donald Trump hosts Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday for a first face-to-face meeting, seeking to forge a chemistry that can add new fizz to a flourishing relationship between the world's two largest democracies.

On Sunday, the Indian leader met with top American executives, painting for them a picture of a business-friendly India with "minimum" governmental encumbrances.

Initial signs were upbeat, with Trump describing Modi as a "true friend!" on Twitter, and the Indian leader posting that he "greatly looked forward" to the one-on-one.

Highlighting the benefits of the Goods and Services Tax, which is set to be launched in India on July 1st, PM Modi wrote: "transformation of India presents abundant commercial and investment opportunities for American businesses". Arrangements were made to take group photographs with Modi.

Both also entertain a wary relationship with the media - preferring to reach out directly to their base via social media, where Modi's almost 31 million Twitter followers rival Trump's 32 million. The program is used by Indian software engineers to work and stay in the US after getting employed by American companies.

The two are scheduled to hold a joint press conference on Monday afternoon following their meeting.

Whole world looking at India, says Modi
During the interaction at the Willard Hotel, where he is staying, Modi gave a patient hearing to the wish-list of the top bosses . He mentioned the Government's emphasis on efficiency, transparency, growth and benefit for all.

This is the first working dinner that Trump will be hosting at the White House for any visiting foreign leader. Trump has been a little cool towards India.

According to sources, at the meeting, PM Modi was told that there are 740,000 jobs attributable to iOS, and that Indian app developers have created nearly 100,000 apps for the App Store, a growth of 57 percent, in 2016.

PM Modi's core goals for the meeting, analysts say, are simple: "ensure that India is on the US' radar, and that the new United States administration maintains policy continuity with the last one", said Shailesh Kumar of the Eurasia group.

During his White House speech announcing his withdrawal from the Accords in early June, Trump zeroed in on India and accused it of trying to strong-arm the global community into paying billions of dollars in exchange for Delhi's signature on the Accords.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting, "In the 70 years of [Israel's] existence, no Indian prime minister has ever visited and this is a further expression of the state of Israel's military, economic and diplomatic strength...."

But after his landslide election victory, Modi built a strong rapport with Obama.

Despite differences over issues such as immigration and climate change, Modi is expected to assure Trump that the USA has nothing to fear from India's growing economic clout.

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