G20: PM Modi, President Trump discuss Iran, trade, 5G, bilateral and defence ties

Osaka, June 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held talks with US President Donald Trump and discussed various bilateral and global issues including Iran, 5G communications networks, trade and defence ahead of the G-20 Summit.

Modi held bilateral talks with US President Donald Trump in Osaka ahead of the formal opening of the G-20 Summit.

During the meet, US President Donald Trump congratulated Prime Minister Modi on his victory in the Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking on the bilateral relations, the US President said the two countries have become great friends. “Our countries have never been closer. I can say that with surety. We’ll work together in many ways including military, we’ll be discussing trade today,” US President said.On Iran, Trump said: “We have a lot of time. There’s no rush, they can take their time. There is absolutely no time pressure”.

Prime Minister Modi thanked Trump for expressing his “love towards India” in a letter recently delivered by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The two leaders, who met shortly after the Japan-America-India trilateral meeting, discussed Iran, 5G, bilateral and defence relations between the two countries.

The two leaders exchanged “perspectives on progress in the strategic partnership and develop new ideas to bring it to the next level”, at their bilateral meeting here on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, the White House said in a readout of their meeting.

They “acknowledged the unprecedented breadth and depth of bilateral ties, including economic, trade, energy, defense and security, counter-terrorism, and space”, the statement said.

“The leaders affirmed that, as responsible democracies, a close partnership between the US and India is central to global peace and stability. They reiterated their commitment to provide strong leadership to address global challenges and build prosperity for their citizens in the decades to come,” it added.

Before their bilateral meeting, Modi and Trump held a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinto Abe.

After the trilateral meeting, Modi tweeted: “Today’s meeting of the JAI (Japan, America, India) Trilateral was a productive one. We had extensive discussions on the Indo-Pacific region, improving connectivity and infrastructure development”.

A White House statement of the trilateral meeting said the leaders “reaffirmed the critical importance of strengthening US-India-Japan cooperation to reinforce shared core democratic values, which promote global security and prosperity”.

“They agreed to meet every year aceto ensure successful cooperation in multiple areas, including maritime security, quality infrastructure, and advancing peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean and Pacific region and beyond.”

Before his meeting with Modi, Trump said he thought they will have a “very big trade deal to announce”.

“I think we will just continue to get along with India,” he told reporters as they got ready for the talks. “We certainly work together on trade and we’ll be discussing trade today.”

“I think we going to have some very big things to announce. Very big trade deal.”

Trump has put sanctions on oil trade with Iran, an important energy source for India.

Trump has also criticised India’s high import tariff on the iconic Harley Davidson motorcycles as “unacceptable” though acknowledging that his “good friend” Prime Minister Modi has reduced it from 100 per cent to 50 per cent.

Last February, India slashed the customs duty on imported motorcycles like Harley-Davidson to 50 per cent after Trump called it “unfair” and threatened to increase the tariff on import of Indian bikes to the US.

The government on June 21 last year decided to impose these duties in retaliation to the US decision of significantly hiking customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products.

America, in March last year, imposed 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent import duty on aluminium products.

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