Counter-terrorism, security, priority of Modi-Trump meeting: Envoy Sarna

Dr Avina Sarna, Delhi University, Donald Trump, Navtej Sarna, Indian Ambassador to the US,
Dr Avina Sarna, Delhi University, Donald Trump, Navtej Sarna, Indian Ambassador to the US,

Washington: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-day official visit to the United States, India’s Ambassador to that country, Navtej Sarna, said Saturday that Prime Minister Modi and President Trump would discuss crucial issues such as counter-terrorism, security and cyber security.

“In the first face-to-face meeting between Prime Minister Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump, some of the important discussions could be on security, counter-terrorism and cyber security, apart from advancing political relations, trade and investment,” Sarna told ANI in an exclusive interview.

The upcoming meeting, which is deemed to be one that can significantly strengthen bilateral relations between the two democracies, will also include an interactive session with the Indian-American community as well as 20-odd top CEOs in Washington.

Ambassador Sarna believes that this engagement with the three-million member Indian-American community is an important plank of bilateral ties.

“They are today politically active. So, they are very important part of our engagements with the United States and they play a very important role. So, I think it’s a great occasion for them to meet the Prime Minister,” he added.

Prime Minister Modi during the round-table discussion with the CEOs is expected to discuss Indian economic reforms such as the forthcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill apart from convening deliberations on exploring India as a prospective market for two-way investment opportunities.

“The CEOs span across various sectors such as IT, infrastructure, retail, financial services, banking and manufacturing. This is a great opportunity for Prime Minister Modi to have this exchange of views, to listen to the plans, to listen and examine any problem that they may be facing,” he said.

“Indian companies have also invested huge sums in the U.S. market. Therefore, the discussion with the CEOs from America will provide an opportunity to them to tell us what their plans are, how they are looking at India as a market, India as a destination and India as somebody they can work with,” added Ambassador Sarna.

When asked about the change in relationship since the Trump administration has taken charge in the United States, Sarna said, “Certainly, it’s a new administration. There’s a change of personnel.”

“There will be a change of nuance. We have to see what new changes and the new things the new President and his administration brings in, but I am very confident that with the new administration, the India-US engagement will grow stronger and stronger,” he insisted.

The two leaders will first meet for one-on-one talks at around 3.30 p.m. on Monday (Tuesday 1a.m. IST), and after a brief photo-op with the media, they will head for delegation-level talks, followed by a cocktail reception.

The day will culminate with a White House dinner, the first by the Trump administration for a visiting foreign leader.

Prime Minister Modi is expected to hold talks with Trump on the regional security situation as also on ways to enhance cooperation in bilateral areas of strategic importance.

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