The United States is rolling out the red carpet for Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, who will meet US president Donald Trump at the White House on Monday. The two leaders are expected to cap their meeting with a working dinner — Trump’s first evening meal with a visiting head of State in the White House since he took office in January 2017.
Modi and Trump will meet for the first time on Monday afternoon, and the entire evening after that is different formats of the Indo-US engagement.
‘Defence, defence, defence’ — that’s what will get top billing during the one-on-one between Modi and Trump as well as the bilateral delegation level talks on the same day.
Details of the Modi-Trump meeting have been nearly two months in the making, and clearly, senior White House staff who have a deep understanding of India’s and Trump’s priorities have worked hard to line up the ducks. Sample this statement at the White House background briefing: “Defence trade has supported thousands of American jobs. Since 2008 in fact, India has signed over $15 billion in defence contracts with the US.”
Here is what Trump Tweeted ahead of Modi’s Visit :
Look forward to welcoming India's PM Modi to @WhiteHouse on Monday. Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend!
— President Trump (@POTUS) June 24, 2017
A senior White House official (who holds a key position in Trump’s innermost circle and who specifically asked not to be named) held a 40-minute background briefing on Friday evening in a media room packed to capacity with reporters from major Indian and American news networks tossing questions on all the hot buttons, including H1B visas, tensions with Pakistan, Chinese reaction to the official bonhomie with Modi, and potentially thorny negotiation on tariffs and trade.