India-US Finalize Defense Deals Worth $3 Billion, Sign 3 MoUs In Energy Sector

India-US Finalize Defense Deals Worth $3 Billion, Sign 3 MoUs In Energy Sector

Feb. 26, 2020, 7:25 a.m.

A successful two-day trip culminated with a carefully handled press interaction by US President Donald Trump. India and US decided to forge ahead on all spheres of the relationship despite the concerns regarding the tough negotiations on trade but the US President clearly side-stepped all domestic issues of India or those that India considers "internal".

"I am going to be not at all controversial and blow the two days, plus two days of travel on one answer, one little answer...that will be the end of the trip. They will not talk about the trip," he said while addressing the media on Tuesday at ITC Maurya in New Delhi.

The issue of religious freedom did come up during the restricted dialogue and President Trump said that he got a "powerful" answer from the Prime Minister.

"I had a very powerful answer from the PM... He told me, as far as Muslims are concerned, there are 200 million Muslims in India, a fairly short while ago there were 14 million," he said.

During a briefing after the talks, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla said, "On religious freedom, there was an appreciation on both sides that pluralism and diversity are a common binding factor in both countries."

Another controversial issue that came up during the talks was Kashmir. Trump clarified that he never "offered" to "mediate" but added that there are always two sides to a story and if needed, he will do what it takes.

While the two sides have been on the same page on all counts, a certain discomfort was felt with Trump praising Pakistan on Indian soil. He lauded the efforts of Pakistan in fighting terror at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad, during the joint press statement and at the separate media interaction.

"In our discussions, Prime Minister Modi and I affirmed our two countries' commitment to protecting our citizens from radical Islamic terrorism. In this effort, the United States is also working productively with Pakistan to confront terrorists who operate on its soil", President Trump said alongside PM Modi in the lawns of Hyderabad House in New Delhi after the talks.

Credit: India Today

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