Trump urges Modi to open up Indian markets for US goods

US President Donald Trump has urged the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi lift barriers to Indian markets for the US goods so that the trade deficit between the two countries could be reduced.

"I look forward to working with you, Mr Prime Minister, to create jobs in our countries, to grow our economies, and to create a trading relationship that is fair and reciprocal. It is important that barriers be removed to the export of U.S. goods into your markets, and that we reduce our trade deficit with your country," Trump said during remarks made by the two leaders while issuing a joint statement.

The high profile meet between the two leaders fared quite smoothly with signing a range of agreements on issues ranging from terrorism, trade, technology Pakistan and Afghanistan. The two leaders exuded warmth in the day long meetings. Trump responded to Modi with cajoling humour characteristic of an erstwhile businessman.

"I’m proud to announce to the media, to the American people, and to the Indian people, that Prime Minister Modi and I are world leaders in social media," Trump remarked and the audience broke into laughter.

"We’re believers – giving the citizens of our countries the opportunity to hear directly from their elected officials, and for us to hear directly from them. I guess it’s worked very well in both cases," Trump added.

Delegations led by PM Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump meet at the White House(Source Prime Minister's Office)
Delegations led by PM Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump meet at the White House. Photo Courtesy: Prime Minister's Office

"I am thrilled to salute you, Prime Minister Modi, and the Indian people for all that you are accomplishing together. Your accomplishments have been vast. India has the fastest growing economy in the world.  We hope we’re going to be catching you very soon in terms of percentage increase, I have to tell you that.  We’re working on it," he went on as Modi listened, grinning ceaselessly.

"To further our economic partnership, I’m excited to report that the Prime Minister has invited my daughter, Ivanka, to lead the US delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India this fall.  And I believe she has accepted," Trump told a bemused gathering.

The two leaders seemed to be at ease with each other, setting at rest speculations how Modi would fare with a leader who has been termed maverick, difficult with a dangerous crushing handshake followed by two yanks that have shaken the frame of several world leaders visiting the White House. However, Modi proved smarter, dodging deftly by giving a quick bear-hug that surprised Trump, giving him no time to stretch his hand. The social media cracked up.

"Watch Modi execute the double-handed pull on the hug exit. Concentrated force on opponent's point of weakness. The work of a true craftsman… Pre-emptive hug emerging as Pre-emptive hug emerging as powerful form of Trump handshake defense. Hard to overcome, strategists rethinking their approach after today," tweeted Tom Gara, editor of BuzzFeed – a news portal that unleashed Trump-Russia link stories.

There was no immediate reaction from the Democrats. However, Nisha Biswal, the Indian-origin pointswoman for India as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia under President Barack Obama, hoped "strategic continuity for the strategic partnership" started by the former regime will be maintained.