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Trump Sarkar welcomes Modi Sarkar: US prez learns Hindi to greet Modi

US First Lady Melania Trump would join President Donald Trump to welcome the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House today. "Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend!"

"We also share an interest in ensuring that sea lanes - critical lifelines of trade and energy - remain secure and open to all", Modi said in an apparent reference to China's flexing of its muscles in the South China Sea.

Referring to the bilateral trade, Modi said that the two way trade, which already totals about Dollars 115 billion a year, is poised for a multi-fold increase.

India does not have a formal alliance with the United States, but defense ties have intensified in recent years with joint drills between the two militaries and defense sales.

After their talks, Modi and Trump will make statements in the Rose Garden.

"India believes that a strong America is good for the world", Modi told the CEOs, according to the foreign ministry in New Delhi. "And I think that will come through in the visit on Monday", the official said.

However, there are fundamental differences between them on issues including the H-1B visas, used by many Indian information technology (IT) companies, and the Paris climate accord, which India supports and Trump has withdrawn the USA from.

On whether the contentious visa issue would come up for discussion during the meeting, a senior White House official said it was unlikely to be raised from the USA side but if raised by the Indian side, the Americans were ready for it. Monday's meeting will help deepen Trump's strategic understanding of the country, the official said.

Despite a $66 billion trading relationship that is India's second-largest, Trump's "America First" rhetoric may make it hard for him to find common ground with a prime minister prioritizing a parallel "Make in India" campaign. The issues speculated to be discussed between two leaders includes H-1B visa, hate crime and trade. Both leaders will be meeting in the background of a trade deficit in India's favor.

"You've got a clash of economic nationalisms going on", said Ian Hall, acting director of the Griffith Asia Institute in Australia. "He will say Trump Sarkar welcomes Modi Sarkar", said Chicago industrialist Shalabh "Shalli" Kumar, who was considered the chief architect of the presidential candidate outreach to the Indian-American community a year ago.

Trump's other priorities, from Syria, China and Russian Federation to domestic issues including immigration, healthcare and investigations into his administration, have fuelled the impression among India-watchers that New Delhi is not on Trump's radar.

Climate change could be a contentious issue.

Perhaps the visit could have been scheduled earlier but India seemed to be falling off Trump's radar.

The delegation-level talks are expected see discussions on topics such as the civil nuclear deal, terrorism, Pakistan, the Paris climate accord, among other things.

Trump's administration has meanwhile indicated it could take a tougher stance on Pakistan, which India has long accused of harboring militant groups.

"However, contrary to India's long held desire, the U.S. will not label Pakistan a state sponsor of terror", the Eurasia analysts wrote. The Prime Minister is expected to be joined among others by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and the Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna.



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