Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to arrive in the United States of America on 25 June 2017. This will be his first visit to the United States after Donald Trump became president a few months back. This will be a 2-day visit to the capital city Washington (25 and 26 June) where the PM Modi will hold talks with the President on contentious issues.
Agenda for PM’s visit
One of the main reasons for PM Modi’s proposed plan of visit to the US is to discuss with Donald Trump on some contentious issues between the two countries.
US President Donald Trump said he was looking forward to host the prime minister and also congratulated him on the party’s success in the state assembly elections. He also said that he would offer support to the PM on economic reforms. Trump also stated that he has great respect for the people of India. This was in March 2017.
The relation between India and the US was a cordial and warm one during Obama regime and India looked for greater foreign investment and trade ties with the Western nations. Between 2000 and 2016, the US-India trade has grown six-fold from $19 billion to $115 billion. US energy and technologies, including natural gas, has been helping our PM Modi’s vision to build a New India. This in turn has created thousands of US jobs. But obstacles seem to have emerged with Trump presidency.
The two most priority issues on the agenda to be discussed officially between the two leaders on 26 June are as follows:
- Climate Change Agreement
- H1-B visa
Some other issues that will be included in the discussion are
- Combating terrorism
- Promoting economic growth and reforms
- Increasing security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region as shared priorities
- India’s entry into the nuclear suppliers group
- China’s increasingly aggressive stance in east and south Asia
In a very recent event, Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris accord, which was severely criticized by many countries’ political leaders and citizens. In fact, while announcing this, Donald Trump also accused India and China of receiving “billions of dollars” in exchange for signing it. However, Indian government considered Trump’s claims as false. It was true that our country signed the Paris agreement but not with the intention of earning dollars but with the intention of fulfilling the government’s commitment of protecting the environment. This was stated by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at a press conference.
Also, Donald Trump’s attitude of adopting the policy of “America First” is not taken on a good note by our Indian engineers looking for greener pastures in the US. Trump is also keen on putting a cap on the H1-B work visa, which in turn will put thousands of Indian engineers staying in the US at risk of losing their jobs. PM will discuss with Trump India’s concerns over possible changes in H1-B visa rules.
Trump had invited Modi to Washington after being congratulated over the phone on becoming the new President of the States. During the call, Trump stated that the US considers India a true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world. However, the situation has slightly changed in the last few months and considering the fact there are two thorny issues to be discussed such as withdrawal from the historic climate accord and reducing the number of H-1B visa used by Indian IT workers, the bilateral talks won’t of course be a very smooth one.
To sum up: The external ministry affairs while announcing the PM’s US visit on June 25 said, “The Modi-Trump discussions will provide a new direction for deeper bilateral engagement on varied issues of mutual interest and consolidation of multi-dimensional strategic partnership between India and the US.” The maiden talks between the PM and the president of the US might set forth a vision to expand the US-India partnership in an ambitious way.