Modi-Trump meeting could redefine India-US relations

Modi will address the gathering of Indian Americans at the community event and head back to DC, where on Monday he will hold his first bilateral meeting with Trump in the White House.

"We are really seeking to roll out the red carpet", said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. If the working dinner, which will be his first with any foreign guest, goes well he may become more aligned to toe India's line of strict global action against Pakistan-supported terrorism. Just hours before Modi was to land in Washington, Trump tweeted that he was looking forward to "welcoming India's PM Modi to White House on Monday".

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that he is expecting a very robust discussion to take place between the two leaders.

Senator Mark Warner, Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus hoped that Trump, in his meeting with Prime Minister Modi, shows enthusiastic support for deepening the US-India relationship, which enjoys strong bipartisan support.

Modi's two-day visit to Washington begins on Sunday.

During the current trip, PM Modi is likely to try and swing President Trump's opinion against US' long-standing ally Pakistan on the issue of terrorism, which may not be as far-fetched a dream as it once seemed. "So, we're looking for ways to cooperate on our mutual interests", a senior administration official said while adding USA encourages India and Pakistan to engage in a direct bilateral dialogue aimed at reducing tensions.

Noting that the United States is very much interested in facilitating India's defence modernisation, and helping to enhance its role as a leader in the Asia Pacific, the official said the Trump Administration believes that a strong India is good for the US.

After the U.S. visit, Modi will travel to the Netherlands on June 27 where he will have a meeting with the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and call on King Willem-Alexander and meet Queen Maxima.

He said that 17 cooperation projects have been identified to work on and that the bilateral talks. "Our economic ties continue to follow an upward trajectory, and we can do more for the flow of goods, services, capital and human resources", he said, adding that bilateral trade has grown 17 per cent in the past one year.

"I don't think PM Modi can change Trump's worldview".

Their origins are not only separated by a distance of 12,000 kilometers: Modi helped his father sell tea from a Gujarat street stall, while Trump's tutelage was in property development.

Relations between the world's two largest democracies warmed under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama as India sought greater foreign investment and trade ties with Western nations.

There is angst in New Delhi that Trump has not paid adequate attention to India, especially in contrast to his repeated praise for China and its leader, Xi Jinping.

  • Joanne Flowers