Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on Friday discussed various bilateral and global issues including Iran, 5G communications networks, trade and defence ahead of the G20 Summit in Japan’s Osaka.
However, there was no discussion on the S-400 missile deal in their bilateral meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
“It was a very productive and open discussion. We will take things forward. There was very little discussion on defence issues. S-400 issue was not discussed. We highlighted the potential of cooperation in this area which was welcomed by President Trump,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said at a press conference here on the sidelines of the 14th G20 Summit.
PM Modi thanked Trump for expressing his “love towards India” in a letter recently delivered by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
At the press briefing, Modi and Trump agreed that they would meet at an early date to try and sort out issues pertaining to trade between the two countries.
Trump has put sanctions on oil trade with Iran, an important energy source for India.
The US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 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 Iran issue, Trump said, “We have a lot of time — there’s no rush they can take their time. There is absolutely no time pressure. Hopefully, in the end, it’s going to work out. If it does, great, if it doesn’t, you all be hearing about it.”
“On Iran, the primary focus was on how we ensure stability there, as instability affects us in many ways, not just in matter of energy needs, but also in terms of our large diaspora in Gulf, 8 million Indians in the Gulf,” Vijay Gokhale said.
Donald Trump further said US and India had become “great friends and both countries have never been this closer”. “I can say that with surety. We will work together in many ways including military,” Trump said adding that the two leaders will be discussing trade today.
Trade is a cause of major friction between India and the US, with Trump terming the tariffs as “unacceptable”. Last month, US withdrew the preferential trade status extended to India accusing the country of failing to provide “equitable and reasonable access” to its markets.
India on June 16 retaliated by hiking tariffs on 28 US products.
Before the start of the bilateral meeting, Donald Trump congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the election win.
“You deserve it. You have done a great job in pulling together. I remember when you first took over, there were many factions and they were fighting with each other and now they get along. It’s a fantastic tribute to you and your abilities,” the US President told Modi.
Following the meet, PM Modi tweeted, “The talks with Donald Trump were wide-ranging. We discussed ways to leverage the power of technology, improve defence and security ties as well as issues relating to trade. India stands committed to further deepen economic and cultural relations with the USA.”
The two leaders had met shortly after the Japan-America-India trilateral meeting during which PM Modi highlighted “the importance India attaches to” the grouping.