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G20: Modi, Trump discuss 5G, trade, Iran; leave out S-400 deal from talks

US President Donald Trump said ahead of his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he thinks they will have a 'very big trade deal to announce'

Agencies 

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Prime Minister Modi meets US President Donald Trump and Japanese premier Shinzo Abe before G20 summit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held wide-ranging talks with US President Donald Trump and discussed ways to leverage the power of technology, improve defence and security ties as well as issues relating to trade, Iran and 5G.

US President Donald Trump said ahead of his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he thinks they will have a "very big trade deal to announce".

The two leaders discussed Iran, 5G, bilateral relations and defence ties on the sidelines of the summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Donald Trump, however, did not discuss the S-400 missile deal in their bilateral meeting, India's Ministry of External Affairs said.

"The talks with @POTUS were wide ranging. We discussed ways to leverage the power of technology, improve defence and security ties as well as issues relating to trade.

"India stands committed to further deepen economic and cultural relations with USA," Modi said on Twitter.

The US reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and six world powers. To reduce Iran's crude oil export to zero, the US ended on May 2 waivers that had allowed the top buyers of Iranian oil, including India, to continue their imports for six months.

India, complying with the US sanctions, has ended all imports of oil from Iran.

Trump congratulated Modi on his election victory and said that the two countries would work together in many areas including military.

"It was a big victory, you deserve it, you have done a great job. We have big things to announce. In terms of trade, in terms of manufacturing, we would be discussing 5G. I congratulate you and I look forward to talks," Trump said.

"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," he 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".

"PM @narendramodi and @POTUS held talks on the sidelines of the #G20 Summit in Osaka. Both leaders discussed various bilateral and global issues," the Prime Minister's Office said in a tweet.

The two leaders met shortly after the Japan-America-India trilateral meeting during which Modi highlighted "the importance India attaches to" the grouping.

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.

In Osaka, Modi says terrorism the 'biggest threat' to humanity (ANI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asserted that terrorism is the "biggest threat" to humanity, and urged BRICS member countries to contribute in ending all mediums of support to terrorism and racism.

Speaking at an informal meeting of BRICS leaders ahead of the G20 summit here, Prime Minister Modi outlined three major challenges the world is currently facing.

"I want to focus on three major challenges-- economy slow down and uncertainty, to make development more sustainable and terrorism," said Modi, while sitting alongside Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

"Terrorism is the biggest threat to humanity. Not only does it claim the lives of the innocents, it negatively affects economic development and communal harmony. We have to stop all mediums of support to terrorism and racism," he said.

Modi also put forth a five-point approach to address these challenges, while reiterating the need for BRICS countries to work together to solve these issues.

"We have to push for reform in financial and business organisations, gas and oil should be available at low cost. New Development Bank should get more priority in the physical and social infrastructure and renewable energy programs of member countries," he said

India's initiative for Coalition for Disaster-Resilient Infrastructure will help in the development of appropriate infrastructure to help the least developed and developing countries face natural calamities, Modi emphasised.

He also said that the movement of skilled craftsmen around the world should be easy. "This will also benefit the countries where a large part of the population has crossed the working age."

Earlier, Modi held a trilateral meeting with United States President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, wherein the three leaders discussed how they can jointly work on connectivity, infrastructure, ensuring peace and security in the Indo-Pacific. They also held talks in terms of working together to build upon this new concept, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said at a press briefing.

"It was a very productive and open discussion. We will take things forward. There was very little discussion on defence issues. S-400 issue was not discussed. We highlighted the potential of cooperation in this area which was welcomed by President Trump," Gokhale said on the sidelines of the 14th G20 Summit.

This comes a few days after US Secretary of State Micheal Pompeo had said the two countries should be able to provide security for themselves. It also comes at a time when the US has put forth suggestions for India to look for alternatives to the S-400 missile system, as transactions with Russia risk triggering CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act).

Modi says one-sided decisions drive development of global economy

The development of the global economy is largely driven by one-sided decisions and disputes felt by the entire system, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday.

"We should still focus on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reform to achieve balanced development of the global economy and so this growth is open to everyone," Modi told a meeting of leaders of the grouping of BRICS nations on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan's western city of Osaka.

First Published: Fri, June 28 2019. 11:29 IST
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