Prez Trump’s visit ushers in a new era of India-US ties

Before attending key official meetings in New Delhi, President Trump addressed a gathering of more than 100,000 people in Ahmedabad and paid a personal visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra

February 26, 2020

The state visit marked the 5th meeting between President Trump and PM Modi in the last eight months

More than 4 million people of Indian origin, majorly involved in STEM R&D, have made America their home

The US has emerged as India’s largest trade partner in the first 10 months of 2019-20 at US$75.2 billion

India to buy MH-60R naval, AH-64E Apache helicopters worth over US$3 billion with more deals on the anvil

President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, welcomed the US president, Donald J. Trump, and First Lady, Melania Trump, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on February 25. President Trump, on his first state trip to India since assuming office in 2017, traveled to Ahmedabad, Agra, and New Delhi over February 24-25. During the critical visit, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and President Trump vowed to strengthen India-U.S. Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership which recently entered its 70th year. The visit gained unprecedented global coverage which is expected to give a boost to India-US ties in the coming years.

The two nations are strong allies in matters ranging from defence and security to trade and investment with the US emerging as India’s largest trade partner during the first 10 months of 2019-20 at US$75.2 billion.

Over the years, India-US ties have graduated to focus more on high-end R&D and innovation. 

Improved trade relations

On the occasion, PM Modi and President Trump recognized the increasing importance of the trade and investment dimension of the India-US relationship and the need for long-term trade stability that will benefit both the American and Indian economies. The two leaders agreed to promptly conclude the ongoing negotiations, which they hope can become phase one of a comprehensive bilateral trade deal that reflects the true ambition and potential of the bilateral commercial relations, advancing prosperity, investment, and job creation in both countries. The two sides welcomed growing trade and investment links in hydrocarbons. Through a Strategic Energy Partnership, India and the US are now seeking to enhance energy security, expand energy and innovation linkages in the energy industry spanning nuclear, LNG, coal, and renewables. The total energy trade for the last four years has been reported at US$20 billion.

A US$3bn defence deal 

Before attending official meetings in Delhi, President Trump addressed a gathering of more than 100,000 people in Ahmedabad and paid a personal visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra. At the bilateral meetings, PM Modi and President Trump pledged to deepen defence and security cooperation, especially through greater military, maritime and space partnerships, training and capacity building. Additionally, the two sides will also target closer collaboration on co-development and co-production of advanced defence components, equipment, and platforms as well as an alliance between their defence industries. As steps towards building this tie-up, President Trump reaffirmed the US Government’s pledge to transfer to India advanced U.S. military technology. Meanwhile, during the visit, India announced plans to acquire MH-60R naval and AH-64E Apache helicopters worth over US$3 billion with more deals under discussion. 

Building on shared interests

The defence interactions will advance shared security interests, job growth and industrial association between both countries. As India works to acquire new defence capabilities, President Trump reaffirmed India’s status as a Major Defense Partner that offers the highest consideration for procurement and technology transfer purposes. The two leaders looked forward to the early conclusion of defence partnership agreements, including the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement. PM Modi and President Trump also resolved to enhance the security of their domestic territories through improved cooperation between the US Department of Homeland Security and India’s Ministry of Home Affairs. The two governments are committed to building a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. The two sides decided to strengthen consultation through the 2+2 Ministerial meeting as well as other multilateral arrangements. 

Rising cooperation in STEM

The two sides have had a longstanding partnership in science, technology, and innovation. During the visit, the two leaders welcomed an endeavour by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to launch the world’s first dual-frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite in 2022. The two nations have collaborated in Earth observation, Mars and planetary exploration, human spaceflight, and commercial space missions. Additionally, PM Modi and President Trump expressed their desire to increase higher education collaboration and educational exchange opportunities, including through the “Young Innovators” internships, and welcomed the recent growth in the number of Indian students in the United States.

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