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PM Modi, US President Trump hold 'open & productive' meeting; discuss trade, 5G, Iran issues

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: June 28, 2019  | 13:30 IST

(Eds: Updating with more inputs, quotes from White House) Osaka, Jun 28 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held a "very open and productive" meeting with US President Donald Trump, including on bilateral trade issues, as the two leaders pledged to provide a "strong leadership" to the world to address pressing global challenges like terrorism. Modi, who is in Osaka, Japan to attend the G20 Summit, thanked President Trump for expressing his "love towards India" in a letter delivered by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week. The Prime Minister said that India stands committed to further deepen economic and cultural relations with the US and the two leaders discussed Iran, 5G, bilateral relations and defence ties on the sidelines of the summit. "The talks with @POTUS were wide ranging. We discussed ways to leverage the power of technology, improve defence and security ties as well as issues relating to trade," Modi tweeted after the meeting. "India stands committed to further deepen economic and cultural relations with USA," he said. Briefing reporters, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the meeting was "very open and productive". "The two leaders had a very warm discussion. President Trump congratulated the Prime Minister on his victory and Prime Minister in particular noted that Trump had sent a very warm letter to him through Secretary of State Mike Pompeo," he said. In a readout of the Trump-Modi meeting, the White House said the two leaders met to exchange perspectives on progress in the strategic partnership and develop new ideas to bring it to the next level. The leaders acknowledged the unprecedented breadth and depth of US-India bilateral ties, including economic, trade, energy, defense and security, counterterrorism and space, it said. "The leaders affirmed that, as responsible democracies, a close partnership between the United States and India is central to global peace and stability," the readout said. "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. On Iran, the foreign secretary said Modi outlined India's energy concerns as well as worries over peace and stability in the region. He pointed out that although Iran supplies 11 per cent of India's energy, it has reduced oil imports from Iran though it has affected the Indian economy. "We have been able to sustain this position and we also had our diaspora in the region, we have energy requirements in the region, we have economic interest in the region, therefore it is in India's fundamental interest to maintain peace and stability in the region," the Prime Minister was quoted as telling President Trump. Modi also recalled that India has deployed some of the Indian Navy ships in the region to protect the Indian flagged vessels passing through the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. "This was appreciated very much by President Trump and they had a brief discussion and the President expressed his hope that the oil prices will remain stable. He (Trump) talked about what the US was doing to ensure that stability is maintained in the Gulf that oil prices were stable," he said. Both sides also agreed that will remain in touch on the issue of Iran and to maintain regional stability. The US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of landmark 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and six world powers. To reduce Iran's crude oil export to zero, the US ended on May 2 waivers that had allowed the top buyers of Iranian oil, including India, to continue their imports for six months. India, complying with the US sanctions, has ended all imports of oil from Iran. On the issue of 5G telecommunications technology, Modi and Trump discussed the technical and business opportunities that this new area provides for cooperation between India and the US. Modi outlined that India was going to have a billion users of this technology in that sense it was the second largest market in the world. Trump also congratulated Modi on his election victory and said that the two countries would work together in many areas including military. "It was a big victory, you deserve it, you have done a great job. We have big things to announce. In terms of trade, in terms of manufacturing, we would be discussing 5G. I congratulate you and I look forward to talks," Trump said. "We have become great friends and our countries have never been closer. I can say that with surety. We will work together in many ways including military, we'll be discussing trade today," he 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". The Modi-Trump meeting assumes significance as the US president, championing his 'America First' policy, has been a vocal critic of India for levying "tremendously high" duties on US products. Before his arrival in Japan on Thursday, Trump tweeted, "I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!" India has raised tariffs on 28 items exported from the US in retaliation to America's withdrawal of preferential access for Indian products. Trump has also criticised India's high import tariff on the iconic Harley Davidson motorcycles as "unacceptable". PTI CPS SMN AKJ AKJ

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