Trump hails U.S.-India relationship after meetings with Modi

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-27 11:39:55|Editor: ying
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WASHINGTON, June 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that the U.S.-India relationship "has never been stronger" after holding talks here with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"India and the United States will always be tied together in friendship and respect," Trump said in a televised remark with Modi in the White House Rose Garden.

Trump welcomed the Indian prime minister for the in-person meeting at the White House and also lauded Modi for leading India toward economic prosperity.

Modi described his talks with Trump as "extremely important," hailing a bilateral relationship that is based on mutual trust and shared values.

"My visit and our talks today will mark a very important page in the history of the collaboration and cooperation between our two nations," Modi said.

"I am sure that under your leadership a mutually beneficial strategic partnership will gain new strength, new positivity, and will reach new heights," Modi told Trump.

This is the first time the two leaders have met face-to-face.

While both leaders stressed the importance of their bilateral relationship, Trump noted that he looks forward to working with Modi to create a trading relationship that is "fair and reciprocal," urging the prime minister to do more to narrow the U.S. trade deficit with India.

"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.

Last year, U.S. trade with India totaled an estimated 114.8 billion U.S. dollars, and U.S. trade deficit with India was 30.8 billion dollars, according to U.S. official figures.

Trump also said he will be working with India to create jobs in both countries and to grow economies of the two countries.

On security issues, both U.S. and Indian leaders emphasized the importance of combating terrorism, including intelligence exchanges.

Trump said both countries have been struck by the "evils of terrorism," and are determined to destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them.

"The top priority for both President Trump and myself is to protect our society from global challenges like terrorism," Modi said.

"We will also enhance our intelligence sharing and information exchanges to expand our policy coordination as far as possible," Modi added.

Meanwhile, Trump thanked India for purchasing U.S.-made military equipment, adding that he hopes to export more energy, including natural gas, to India.

The U.S. State Department has announced the approval of the possible sale of the C-17 transport aircraft to India with a price of about 365 million dollars. In addition, a 2 billion sale of unarmed drones to the Indian navy will reportedly be approved by the U.S. government soon.

Modi, for his part, praised Trump's "vast and successful experience in the business world," saying his experience and leadership will lend a forward-looking agenda to the India-U.S. relations.

After wrapping up an afternoon of meetings and talks, Modi said he has invited Trump and his family to visit India, while President Trump confirmed his daughter, Ivanka Trump, will head a U.S. delegation to India this fall for an entrepreneurship summit.

The Indian prime minister arrived in Washington on Sunday to start his two-day visit to the United States, in an effort to push for closer bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation with Washington.