India, Portugal ink 4m euro fund pact to boost research

That official said much of the focus of the bilateral meetings would be on counterterrorism and security, noting that the administration hopes to elevate India as "a major defence partner on par with our closest allies and partners".

A host of strategic issues are expected to be discussed during the bilateral talks between the two leaders of the world's largest democracies, including defence cooperation, boosting economic ties, discussions on the civil nuclear deal, cooperation on combating terrorism, security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and India's concerns over the H-1B work visa.

Defense cooperation, the U.S. trade deficit with India, counter-terrorism efforts and regional tensions are expected to be discussed between the two leaders. We were honoured to welcome Prime Minister Costa in India in January, not only for a bilateral visit, but also as our Chief Guest at the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, the Indian Diaspora Day celebrations. But however shaky Mr Trump's presidency may appear day-to-day, he is still the locus of power in the USA capital. The Trump administration is set to authorize the sale of surveillance drones to India as the two nations' leaders prepare for their first face-to-face meeting on June 26.

According to an External Affairs Ministry statement, this is a platform initiated by Startup India and supported by Commerce and Industry Ministry and Startup Portugal to create a mutually supportive entrepreneurial partnership.

However, in a freaky twist of event, the Indian prime minister "refused" to alight his vehicle for a prolonged duration until two cameramen, understandably travelling with him, had arrived and taken their positions.

The lawmakers - Republican House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Ranking Member Richard Neal, and Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and Ranking Member Ron Wyden - said the bilateral economic relationship "severely underperforms" as a result of India's failure to enact market-based reforms.

Indian diplomats in Washington emphasised the commonalities between the leaders, citing Modi's business sensibilities and populist appeal.

The two leaders will hold talks on Monday afternoon in the White House and would spend several hours together in various settings including one-on-one and delegation level meetings, a reception and a working dinner. "We're seeking to roll out the red carpet".

Yet Trump has been unpredictable with New Delhi so far.

"India's fast-growing, increasingly-open economy offers big opportunities for the United States ... but success hinges on whether Trump's team can focus enough attention on India and decide whether and how it wants to upgrade ties", Gupta told Al Jazeera.

"While the USA has its agenda, India can not become a full-scale U.S. partner because of so many contradictions in the region".

Trump wrongly asserted that India made its participation in the agreement contingent on "billions and billions and billions" of foreign aid. Reportedly, this is Narendra Modi's fourth visit to the USA in three years. "He's not new to India".

  • Leroy Wright