Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the United States later this month to meet President Donald Trump for the first time.
India’s foreign ministry said on Monday that the two leaders will discuss bilateral relations on June 26 in Washington.
‘Their discussions will provide a new direction for deeper bilateral engagement on issues of mutual interest,’ the External Affairs ministry statement said.
Ties between the two countries prospered under former US President Barack Obama, when India was seen as a partner to balance China’s growing weight in Asia.
But Trump has focused on building ties with China, relying on it as key to tackling problems such as North Korea’s nuclear program.
For India, other key concerns are Trump’s decisions to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord and review the H1B visa program, under which thousands of skilled Indian workers go to the United States.
In announcing America’s withdrawal from the Paris deal last month, Trump irked India by saying New Delhi had made its participation ‘contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid.’
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India did not sign the Paris accord because of the lure of money and would continue to be part of it, regardless of whether the United States participates.
Both sides have expected a bilateral nuclear agreement signed during the Obama administration to begin bearing fruit.
India is expected to discuss the issue with Washington because China has blocked India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, demanding that India’s rival, Pakistan, be treated on the same basis.
Modi’s flagship ‘Make In India’ policy, designed to reboot local manufacturing and ramp up exports in tandem with foreign investors, could also run aground on Trump’s ‘America first’ instincts.
Major US firms such as Walmart and Apple have grown frustrated by regulations and tariffs imposed by Indian authorities as they seek to crack what is a potentially massive market.
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