Colombo, June 29: US President Donald Trump made no secret of his desire to sell more military hardware to India when he told the visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday that no country in the world makes military hardware as good as the US-made ones ,writes P.K.Balachandran in Daily Express.
“Thank you very much for ordering equipment from the United States. Always makes us feel very good. There’s nobody [that] makes military equipment like we make military equipment. Nobody even close, so we want to thank you very much,” Trump said in the presence of the media after talks with Modi.
The total value of Indian arms imports from the US has gone up to US$ 15 billion in terms of contracts since 2008 and the US wants to sell more as India has a huge appetite for it, being the second largest buyer of arms in world after Saudi Arabia having notched up purchases worth US$ 34 billion by 2014.
According to The Diplomat the US aircraft maker Boeing alone has won bids to supply the Indian military with ten C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlift aircraft (worth $4.1 billion), eight P-8I maritime patrol aircraft (worth $2.1. billion), 22 AH-64E Apache, and 15 CH-47F Chinook helicopters (both helicopter deals have a combined worth of $2.5 billion). The White House has also cleared the sale of 22 unarmed Guardian drones for US$ 2 billion.
Tackling Global Terrorism
Underscoring another of their common interests, Trump said: “We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism. Both our nations have been struck by the evils of terrorism, and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them.”
Speaking in Hindi, Modi said: “We discussed the serious challenges of terrorism, extremism, and radicalization, which are the major challenges facing the world today. And we have agreed to enhance our cooperation in fighting against these scourges. Fighting terrorism and doing away with the safe shelters, sanctuaries, and safe havens will be an important part of our cooperation. The top priority for both President Trump and myself is to protect our society from global challenges like terrorism.”
According to a White House statement, Trump and Modi called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch attacks on other countries.
US lists top Pakistan-Based Terrorist
To stress America’s shared interest in controlling cross-border terrorism, the US State Department on Monday listed the Pakistan-based Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist.”
Salahuddin, has vowed to make Kashmir a “graveyard for Indian troops.”
Regional Strategic Cooperation
Strategic cooperation to deal with the challenges in the Asia-Pacific region would continue, Modi said ,without mentioning China.
“The increasing possibilities for enhancing cooperation in order to protect our strategic interests will continue to determine the dimensions of our partnership. We will continue to work with the USA in this region,” Modi said.
However, the sticking point in the talks was the US$ 30 billion trade deficit which the US has with India and the obstacles to American investment in India.
“I look forward to working with you, Mr. Prime Minister, to create jobs in our countries, to grow our economies, and to create a trading relationship that is fair and reciprocal. It is important that barriers be removed to the export of U.S. goods into your markets, and that we reduce our trade deficit with your country,” Trump said.
Striking an optimistic note, Modi assured that there is no conflict between his “Make in India” policy and Trump’s “America First” policy. Modi described US as India’s economic partner.
Work Visa Issue Skirted
However, the touchy issue of the US revising the H1-B visas for Indian professionals to weed out Indians in low paid jobs in the US IT sector was not discussed in depth.
To create goodwill on the economic front. Modi invited the President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, to lead the U.S delegation to Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) later this year.
GES is a key foreign policy initiative of former President Barack Obama to bring together global entrepreneurs and innovators, and India will be hosting its next edition.
“I’m excited to report that the Prime Minister has invited my daughter, Ivanka, to lead the U.S. delegation,” Trump said.