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PM Modi’s 7th Meeting With Obama Next Week. Here’s The Agenda

  1. Both countries finalising agreements for their militaries to work closely
  2. PM will address both houses of the US Congress, considered a rare honour
  3. They are expected to discuss India’s desire to join the NSG
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US President Barack Obama invited PM Narendra Modi for one of the last big visits by a world leader before his term ends in January. (File Photo)

Next week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Washington as one of President Barack Obama’s closest international partners.

President Obama invited PM Modi for one of the last big visits by a world leader before his term ends in January. Although the trip won’t feature a lavish state dinner, the PM will address both houses of Congress, considered a rare honour.

This will be their seventh meeting since Mr Modi became Prime Minister in May 2014, an impressive tally for a US President and a leader who is not a formal ally, said Ashley Tellis at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

“The personal relationship between the president and the prime minister … is really one of the unanticipated surprises of the past two years,” said Mr Tellis, an expert on India.

The developing relationship is seen as an Obama foreign policy success. Washington views India as an important part of its rebalance to Asia and as a counterweight to China.

The two countries are finalising agreements that would make it possible for their militaries to cooperate more closely, and for US defence manufacturers to both sell and make high-tech weaponry in India.

A deal on logistics would govern issues such as how the two countries account for costs of military exercises. Another involves encrypted communications and geospatial data transfer.

Decades of non-alignment has, however, made New Delhi wary of an embrace by the more powerful United States, which has overtaken Russia as India’s top arms supplier.




There are frustrations, too, on the US side.

The two countries reached a civil nuclear agreement in 2005, but it has yet to yield any contracts for US-based companies. Only now is Westinghouse, a unit of Japan’s Toshiba, approaching the finish line on a deal to build six reactors in India.

The visit gives PM Modi a chance to network with US lawmakers who may feature in a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton administration but, as it coincides with the California primary, he is not expected to meet either.

President Obama and PM Modi are expected to discuss India’s desire to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a 48-member club of nuclear trading nations.

India was shut out for decades because of its weapons programme, and the civil nuclear agreement with the United States gave it access to foreign suppliers without giving up its arms.

Mr Modi arrives in Washington on June 7 and leaves the United States on June 8.

 




 

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