Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended important plurilateral meetings with many world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan today.
“The talks with President 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,” Modi stated via his Twitter account.
Modi and Trump’s one-on-one talks were held after they met Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the Japan-America-India trilateral. Trump took a softer stance than his tweet yesterday, which called for India to unilaterally withdraw all tariffs against the US.
"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," Donald Trump said as he sat down with Modi. New Delhi had slapped tariffs on 28 US products earlier this month in response to Washington withdrawing its long-standing trade concessions to India on June 1.
In fact the American President seemed to take a very positive approach to trade relations between the two countries, saying, “I think we're going to have some very big things to announce... Very big trade deal... We're doing some very big things with India in terms of trade, in terms of manufacturing."
However, on the issue of forcing foreign companies to store their data locally, Trump remained unmoved and sent out a clear message to India and China over their insistence on data localisation.
"US seeks free flow of data... and is eager to work with like-minded partners," said Trump at a special session on Digital Economy held as part of the G20 summit. "American success in digital economy is based on free flow of data, strong privacy and intellectual property protection, access to capital and innovation," he added.
Among other things discussed by the two leaders were the issue of Iran and India’s concerns about the security of their energy supplies after it stopped buying oil from Iran, complying with US sanctions, as well as the issue of Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei with America having asked its allies to boycott Huawei in their 5G networks on security grounds.
However, Modi and Trump steered clear of discussing the contentious issue of India's USD5 billion deal with Russia for the S-400 Triumf long-range missile despite threat of US sanctions. Modi also held a meeting with BRICS leaders and spoke about strengthening WTO, fighting protectionism, ensuring energy security and the need to work together to fight terrorism.
Earlier, Modi was accorded an enthusiastic welcome by members of the Indian community in Japan yesterday after he arrived here for the G20 Summit amidst chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’."Reached Osaka to join the #G20 Summit. Grateful to the dynamic Indian community for the warm welcome!" Modi tweeted.
This will be Prime Minister Modi's sixth G20 Summit, which is being held at Osaka on June 28-29.