New Delhi: US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will aim to expand India-US global partnership in their extensive talks Tuesday, when the business-end of the latter’s visit begins.
In an address at a massive ‘Namaste Trump’ rally at Motera stadium in Ahmedabad, the US president announced that deals to sell state-of-the-art military helicopters and other equipment worth over USD 3 billion will be sealed Tuesday.
Talking about defence and strategic ties between the two countries, Trump said the US is looking forward to providing India with some of the best and most feared military equipment on the planet.
‘We make the greatest weapons ever made: airplanes, missiles, rockets, ships. We make the best. And we’re dealing now with India. But this includes advanced air defence systems and armed and unarmed aerial vehicles,’ Trump said.
The deals mentioned by Trump will include procurement of 24 MH-60 Romeo helicopters by India from the US at a cost of USD 2.6 billion. Another contract to acquire six AH-64E Apache helicopters for USD 800 million from the US is also on the table.
‘I am pleased to announce that tomorrow our representatives will sign deals to sell over USD 3 billion in the absolute finest, state-of-the-art military helicopters and other equipment to the Indian Armed Forces,’ Trump said.
However, the talks between the two leaders are unlikely to produce tangible outcome in resolving thorny issues like trade tariffs.
In their talks, Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are likely to focus on a wide variety of bilateral and regional issues including trade and investment, defence and security, counter-terrorism, H1B, energy security, religious freedom, proposed peace deal with Taliban in Afghanistan and situation in the Indo-Pacific, according to Indian and US officials.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said a couple of days back that five pacts providing for cooperation in areas of intellectual property rights, trade facilitation and homeland security are expected to be finalised during Trump’s visit.
About economic ties, Trump said something big is on the cards. ‘Over the course of my visit, Prime Minister Modi and I will also discuss our efforts to expand the economic ties between our two countries,’ he said at Motera.
‘We will be making very, very major – among the biggest ever made – trade deals. We are in the early stages of discussion for an incredible trade agreement to reduce barriers of investment between the United States and India. I am optimistic that, working together, the prime minister and I can reach a fantastic deal that’s good and even great for both of our countries,’ he added.
On the morning of February 25, Trump and the First Lady would be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. From there, they would go to Rajghat to pay homage at the ‘samadhi’ of Mahatma Gandhi.
It would be followed by restricted and delegation-level talks between Trump and Modi at the Hyderabad House. Modi then would host a lunch for the US president following the talks.
In the afternoon, Trump is expected to attend certain private events at the US Embassy, including a roundtable with industry representatives.
In the evening, the US president will meet President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. A banquet will be hosted by Kovind after which Trump would depart late Tuesday evening.