Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his favourite gadget, an iPad to make an impromptu presentation to US President Donald Trump on Tuesday at Hyderabad House in an effort to dispel all misgivings on bilateral trade with India . He also used a time-window before lunch was served at Hyderabad House to explain both the Citizenship Amendment Act and the nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution to the satisfaction of the US president.
Trade is one of the big outstanding issues between the two countries, which couldn’t agree on a widely anticipated trade deal that was expected to be signed during this visit. However, both say they are working on a larger deal.
According to those present at Hyderabad House, PM Modi took upon himself to remove the misgivings of US President Donald Trump that India was treating his country unfairly with little effort being made to address an adverse trade deficit.
It is learnt that PM Modi took out his iPad and showed President Trump what India had done during his tenure to reduce the trade deficit from $31 billion in 2014 to $24.2 billion in 2018—a decline a 22% over four years. PM Modi also showed that India’s hydrocarbon imports from the US went from zero in 2013 to $9 billion now and likely to reach $12 billion by the end of the year, with the US exporting oil, coal and liquified natural gas to India.
He revealed that Indian students in US were contributing nearly $ 6 billion each year to the American treasury by spending dollars in education. PM Modi then pointed out to the growing military hardware imports to India during President Trump’s tenure with more multi-billion dollar defence deals in the pipeline. India is buying $3 billion worth of helicopters this year, for instance. President Trump indicated to PM Modi that his country is willing to supply any top-of-the-line defence equipment including armed drones and fighters to India and that New Delhi was free to buy from anyone provided that the equipment was better in comparison to American hardware. Both PM Modi and President Trump spoke about bilateral trade in comments to media at Hyderabad House.
On CAA, PM Modi explained to the US president that the proportion of those belonging to minority communities in Pakistan and other Muslim nations in India’s neighbourhood, including Christians, has fallen and that the law is aimed only at providing security and dignity to those mistreated in the neighbourhood. He explained that CAA was not aimed at depriving any one of citizenship rights, the people present during the meeting said.
On the issue of J&K, Modi explained how despite all his efforts, Pakistan was targeting India through terrorists, the people added.
Interestingly, even as Modi pointed out the security challenges that India faces from Pakistan, President Trump repeated his willingness to mediate between the two estranged neighbours, the people said. According to them, PM Modi heard out President Trump.