PM Modi and Donald Trump discuss trade, connectivity and Iran in G20 Summit

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

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

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

“You [PM Modi] deserve it [victory in general elections]. You’ve 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,” Donald Trump said on Friday.

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.

Earlier, during the trilateral meeting, Prime Minister Modi had highlighted “the importance India attaches to” the grouping.

“Committed to a better future. Meeting of JAI (Japan-America-India)Trilateral takes place in Osaka. PM @AbeShinzo welcomes the leaders. @POTUS congratulates Prime Ministers Modi and Abe for their electoral victories. PM Modi highlights the importance India attaches to JAI,” the prime minister’s office tweeted.

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 [Narendra] 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 This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!”

This was Modi’s first meeting with Trump after the BJP’s landslide win in the parliamentary election.

India has raised tariffs on 28 items, including almond, pulses and walnut, exported from the US in retaliation to America’s withdrawal of preferential access for Indian products.

The Trump administration wants Prime Minister Modi to lower the trade barriers and embrace “fair and reciprocal” trade.

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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