Modi-Trump talks: US backed India's right to defend; to keep an 'eye on Pakistan'

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: Feb 28, 2020, 06:18 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with US President Donald Trump. Photograph:(ANI)

Story highlights

India raised the issue of cross border-terror emanating from Pakistan on which the US agreed that 'states have the right to defend themselves' and Washington is 'aware of the beast'

During talks between Indian PM Modi and US President Donald Trump, Pakistan, Afghanistan and trade were the key focus with the latter highlighting that Islamabad has been pressing Washington to mediate on Kashmir.

A government source told WION, "Pakistani PM Imran Khan has been pressing to meditate on Kashmir, "something that is not going to happen". The source said Pakistani Prime Minister Khan has been "making a nuisance" on mediation. While there has been a "certain level of accommodation with Pakistan" by Washington in the backdrop of US Taliban deal but that doesn't make "anyone friend".

India raised the issue of cross border-terror emanating from Pakistan on which the US agreed that "states have the right to defend themselves" and Washington is "aware of the beast".

The source explained, the US understands the "need to keep an eye" on Pakistan and they will keep "pressure on Pakistan on its action with regards to taking action on terror"

Afghanistan remained the top focus, with the drawdown in troops being discussed even as US Taliban deal is being signed on Saturday in Doha. India appreciated on "were the US was coming from" after 19 years in Afghanistan and "drawdown should not precipitate" and both sides kept in mind "the gains made in last 19 years".

Fair amount of time was kept on trade and both sides agreed that "we would try and freeze on the current negotiations" and "will give it legal shape" as early as possible. Both sides are now working for the conclusion of the "phase one" of the trade deal at an early stage and the focus on "bilateral trade agreement".

The two-way trade between the two sides has grown with trade expected to go up to $160 billion in 2020-21.

With an increase in energy cooperation, energy import is expected to be $9 billion for financial year $9 billion from $4.7 billion in FY 2017-2018. Hydrocarbon trade is 11 per cent of the total trade. US exports have helped India diversify and Indian companies have invested in production facilities of US energy now.

On H1B1 visa issue, Trump took "note " and "heard the Indian side", the source said. Both sides appreciate the role of the Indian American community and Indian workers provide "democratic values" and "fit in better".

Indo-Pacific was another key focus point, with US international development finance corporation opening an office in Delhi and aiming to give $600 million in concessional loan.

India also "listened" to the US on Japan, US and Australia-led blue dot network. The project, aimed at countering China's Belt and Road(BRI) infrastructure, the initiative aims "to promote quality infrastructure investment that is open and inclusive, transparent, economically viable, financially, environmentally and socially sustainable, and compliant with international standards, laws, and regulations." according to State Department.

The official described the visit of US President Donald Trump as "challenging" in terms of logistics but greatly "satisfying".

According to the BARC's data, 46 million across India watched Namaste Trump event in Ahmedabad across 180 channels with a viewership of 11.69 billion viewing minutes.