STATE TIMES NEWS New Delhi: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday described the Kashmir issue as a “big problem” and a “thorn” for a long time, and offered to mediate in de-escalating tensions between India and Pakistan. However, he clarified that he is not offering to mediate on the Kashmir issue. At a packed press conference, the US President also said ways to deal with terrorism figured prominently in his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, Trump stressed, is determined to check the menace. “We talked a lot about Pakistan. I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Khan. We talked about it today at length with Prime Minister Modi. No question it is a problem. It is a problem, they are working on it,” Trump said.
India, US to start negotiations for ‘big trade deal’: ModiNew Delhi: Describing Indo-US relations as “one of the most important partnerships” of the 21st century, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said increasing the bilateral defence and security cooperation is a very key aspect of this relationship.Addressing a joint press meet with US President Donald Trump after their comprehensive talks on key issues, including trade, counter-terror and energy cooperation, Modi said as far as bilateral trade is concerned, there have been positive talks between the two commerce ministers. “President Trump and I have agreed that our teams will give a legal shape to the understanding that our commerce ministers have reached. We have also agreed to start negotiations for a big trade deal. We hope that it will yield good results in mutual interest,” the Prime Minister said.Asserting that the cooperation between India and the US was based on their common democratic values and objectives, he said this cooperation for rule based international order, especially in Indo-Pacific and global commons.“Both of us agree on the importance of sustainable and transparent financing in the development of connectivity infrastructure in the world. Our mutual understanding is not only in each other’s but the world’s interest,” Modi said, adding that the two countries have decided to take Indo-US ties to the comprehensive global partnership level.The unprecedented and historic welcome given to US President Donald Trump in India will be remembered forever, Modi said while noting that the relations between the two countries are not merely confined to governments but are people-driven.Describing the Indo-US relations as “one of the most important partnerships of the 21st century”, the Prime Minister said,” increasing defence and security cooperation between two countries is a very key aspect of the strategic partnership between India and the US. We also agreed on new mechanism to contain drug trafficking.”He also noted that he had met Trump five times in last eight months.In his brief remarks at the start of official talks, Modi welcomed the US president and said that he had made “invaluable contribution” to taking the ties between the two countries to this level.President Trump, in turn, said the last two days in India were amazing, especially the event at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad.“It was a great honour for me. I would imagine they (the people) were there maybe more for you than for me… 125,000 people were inside. Every time I mentioned your name, there were cheers. People love you,” Trump told Modi in front of the media.Modi said both leaders held a constructive discussion on every important aspect of the partnership between the two countries, be it defence and security, energy strategic partnership, cooperation in technology, global connectivity, trade relations or people to people ties.Both sides also agreed on having a new mechanism to tackle serious concerns like drug trafficking, narco terrorism and other organised crimes, he added.India and the US are committed to openness, and fair and balanced trade, and the bilateral trade between them has seen growth in double digit in the last three years, the Prime Minister said.
He further added: “We just hope, and I just said I’ll do whatever I have to do, if I can do that because my relationship with both gentlemen is so good. But there has been difficulty in Pakistan. We are seeing what we can do about it. Anything I can do to mediate, anything I can do to help I would do.” Later, asked about India’s rejection of his earlier offer to mediate on Kashmir, the US president said he is not offering to mediate on the issue. “Kashmir has been a thorn in a lot of people’s sides for a long time. There are two sides to every story,” said Trump. Since withdrawal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, Trump has made his offer to mediate on Kashmir at least four times. India’s position has been that Kashmir is a bilateral issue and there is no question of any mediation. On terrorism, Trump said the issue was discussed “at great length”, and that Modi has very strong views over it.
“Modi is a very religious man, he is a very calm man, but actually he is a very very strong person, and very tough, actually. I have seen him in action. He has got that foremost on his mind (to deal with) terrorism. He will take care of it,” Trump said.
After talks with Trump, Modi, in his media statement, said both sides have taken a decision to further increase efforts to hold supporters of terrorism responsible.
On his part, Trump said both the countries affirmed their commitment to protect their citizens from radical Islamic terrorism.
In his media statement earlier, Trump said the United States is working productively with Pakistan to confront terrorists who operate on its soil.
After talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump stressed that the Indian leader wants people to have religious freedom and also steered clear of the row over the contentious CAA even as he said an over USD 3 billion defence deal was finalised for the supply of advanced American military helicopters to India.
At their meeting at the stately Hyderabad House hours after the President was accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the two leaders said there has been “tremendous progress” in negotiations between India and the US for a “big and comprehensive” trade deal which will be of great importance to both the countries.
But Trump’s press conference at the ITC Maurya hotel where he stayed overnight came as a surprise and generated a lot of excitement in the media fraternity amid speculation he may touch upon controversial issues like the Citizenship Amendment Act(CAA) against the backdrop of the violence in Delhi over the new law that has left 11 dead.
“I’m gonna be not at all controversial…I don’t want to blow two days of travel on one answer, one little answer…So I will be very conservative in my answers if you don’t mind,” Trump said at the start of the 45-minute packed news conference.
In reply to a question, Trump said issues involving the CAA are up to India and asserted that Prime Minister Modi wants people to have religious freedom.
“We did talk about religious freedom. Prime Minister Modi wants people to have religious freedom in India…If you look back India has worked hard for religious freedom,” Trump said.
On CAA, he said, “I don’t want to say anything on CAA. It is up to India. I hope it will take the right decision for its people.”
Asked if he discussed the incidents of violence taking place during his visit, he said he didn’t discuss individual attacks and “that is up to India” to deal with it.
He also talked with Modi about his country’s peace deal with the Taliban and said India will like to see it happen.
At a news conference, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the new citizenship law did not come up during Modi-Trump talks, noting the two leaders talked about religious harmony in a “positive way”.
“The issue of CAA did not come up, but with regard to what you mentioned, the term religious freedom, there was appreciation from both sides that pluralism and diversity are a common binding factor of both the countries,” he added.
He said India and the US held talks in five major categories–security, defence, energy, technology and people-to-people contact, with Trump assuring India highest consideration for collaboration in defence sector.
Trump said India and the US have expanded their defence cooperation with agreements for New Delhi to purchase more than USD 3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters — the finest in the world.
After extensive talks with Modi during which strategic issues, including trade ties, counter-terror and energy cooperation were discussed, Trump at his joint press meet said they affirmed the two countries’ commitment to protect their citizens from radical Islamic terrorism.
“In this effort, the US is also working productively with Pakistan to confront terrorists who operate on its soil,” Trump said.
The US President said, “earlier, today we expanded our defence cooperation with agreements for India to purchase more than USD 3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters — the finest in the world. These deals will enhance our joint defence capabilities as our militaries continue to train and operate side by side.”
“Another major focus of my discussions with Prime Minister Modi was forging bilateral economic relationships that is fair and reciprocal.”
Modi said as far as bilateral trade is concerned, there have been positive talks between the commerce ministers of the two countries.
“President Trump and I have agreed that our teams will give a legal shape to the understanding that our commerce ministers have reached. We have also agreed to start negotiations for a big trade deal. We hope that it will yield good results in mutual interest,” the prime minister said.
Describing the Indo-US relations as “one of the most important partnerships of the 21st century”, the prime minister said, “increasing defence and security cooperation between two countries is a very key aspect of the strategic partnership between India and the US. We also agreed on new mechanism to contain drug trafficking.”
Modi also noted that he had met Trump five times in the last eight months.
After the ceremonial reception on the second and final day of his whirlwind visit, Trump and his wife Melania paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and planted a sapling at the memorial of the Father of the Nation.
“The American people stand strongly with a sovereign and wonderful India -The vision of the great Mahatma — This is a tremendous honour!” Trump wrote in the visitors book at Rajghat.
Trump also attended a banquet hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Deepika, Ranveer pledge support to PM-CARES
Malaria drug considered for COVID-19 may raise risk of heart problems, scientists say
Shabana Azmi, Hema Malini condemn the attack on doctors in Indore
Lata Mangeshkar, Priyanka, Vicky pledge donations to PM-CARES, CM relief fund
Salman Khan’s nephew Abdullah Khan passes away at 38
© 2020 State Times Daily Newspaper