Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held wide-ranging talks with US President Donald Trump and discussed ways to leverage the power of technology, improve defence and security ties as well as issues relating to trade, Iran and 5G.
PM Modi, who is in Osaka, Japan for the G20 Summit, thanked Trump for expressing his “love towards India” in a letter delivered by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week.
The Prime Minister said that India stands committed to further deepen economic and cultural relations with the US.
The two leaders discussed Iran, 5G, bilateral relations and defence ties on the sidelines of the summit.
“The talks with @POTUS were wide ranging. We discussed ways to leverage the power of technology, improve defence and security ties as well as issues relating to trade.
“India stands committed to further deepen economic and cultural relations with USA,” PM Modi said on Twitter.
The US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and six world powers. To reduce Iran’s crude oil export to zero, the US ended on May 2 waivers that had allowed the top buyers of Iranian oil, including India, to continue their imports for six months.
India, complying with the US sanctions, has ended all imports of oil from Iran.
Trump congratulated PM Modi on his election victory and said that the two countries would work together in many areas including military.
“It was a big victory, you deserve it, you have done a great job. We have big things to announce. In terms of trade, in terms of manufacturing, we would be discussing 5G. I congratulate you and I look forward to talks,” Trump said.
“We have become great friends and our countries have never been closer. I can say that with surety. We will work together in many ways including military, we’ll be discussing trade today,” he said.
On Iran, Trump said: “We have a lot of time. There’s no rush, they can take their time. There is absolutely no time pressure”. “PM @narendramodi and @POTUS held talks on the sidelines of the #G20 Summit in Osaka. Both leaders discussed various bilateral and global issues,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a tweet.
The two leaders met shortly after the Japan-America-India trilateral meeting during which Modi highlighted “the importance India attaches to” the grouping.
The Modi-Trump meeting assumes significance as the US president, championing his ‘America First’ policy, has been a vocal critic of India for levying “tremendously high” duties on US products.
Before his arrival in Japan on Thursday, Trump tweeted, “I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!”
This was PM Modi’s first meeting with Trump after the BJP’s landslide win in the parliamentary election.
India has raised tariffs on 28 items, including almond, pulses and walnut, exported from the US in retaliation to America’s withdrawal of preferential access for Indian products.
The Trump administration wants Prime Minister Modi to lower the trade barriers and embrace “fair and reciprocal” trade.
Trump has also criticised India’s high import tariff on the iconic Harley Davidson motorcycles as “unacceptable” though acknowledging that his “good friend” Prime Minister Modi has reduced it from 100 per cent to 50 per cent.
Last February, India slashed the customs duty on imported motorcycles like Harley-Davidson to 50 per cent after Trump called it “unfair” and threatened to increase the tariff on import of Indian bikes to the US.
The government on June 21 last year decided to impose these duties in retaliation to the US decision of significantly hiking customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products.
America, in March last year, imposed 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent import duty on aluminium products.