Modi-Trump meet: India Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his much-anticipated first meeting with the US President Donald Trump on Tuesday. The meeting underscored blooming India-US ties in the recent years, as both global leaders looked to build a rapport. Trump said India has found a “true friend” in White House, while PM Modi thanked the warm welcome given to him by the hosts. The first Modi-Trump meet focused mostly on terror and in a clear signal to Pakistan, both leaders asked the Islamic country to shun terrorism. Hours before the meet, the US also declared Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Syed Salahuddin as a US-designated Global Terrorist. The move was widely reported by the Indian media. Hiowever, the US media, which is at odds with President Trump, published critical pieces on the meet. Here are some examples:
‘No Questions allowed’
The Washington Post highlighted the fact that reporters from the US and India present in the Rose Garden were not allowed to ask questions. “The journalists were told ahead of time that there would be no questions allowed — a break from the typical Rose Garden tradition of two questions from each press delegation”, even as both leaders proclaimed them as “‘believers’ in public accountability”.
The critical Washington Post piece took a dig at President Trump’s claim of being a global leader on social media along with the India PM. “Then he (Trump) added a Trumpian boast, noting that the two are “world leaders in social media,” which he defined as “giving the citizens of our countries the opportunity to hear directly from their elected officials and for us to hear directly from them. I guess it’s worked very well in both cases.”
It also highlighted the fact that there was no mention of the “faultlines” between India and the US on the Paris Climate Accord from Trump or from Modi on immigration issues, specially H-1B visas, which Trump administration is expected to cut.
The New York Times described Modi as a “fellow nationalist” of Trump. “Trump Meets India’s Leader, a Fellow Nationalist Battling China for His Favor,” read the headline on NYT website. It reported that Modi met Trump as “India sought to vie with China for Mr. Trump’s favor in the region.”
A senior White House Official told NYT that the “display of warmth” by Trump towards Modi was “partly aimed at President Xi Jinping of China, who has disappointed Mr Trump in recent weeks.” It also mentioned the “uncertainties” of India-US relations under Trump. “India faces new uncertainties with Mr. Trump, who has shown less interest than his predecessors in maintaining a web of trade and security alliances in Asia.”
‘Relation reaffirmed with hug’
CNN said the first Modi-Trump meet was sealed with a “bear hug” as the two leaders looked to “publicly underscore their new found friendship. The report also highlighted the missing points of conflict, like Paris deal, in the joint statement. This was Modi’s fifth visit to the US since 2014. CNN said, “Unlike the feverish anticipation over past meetings between Modi and former President Barack Obama, expectations for Modi’s relationship had been lukewarm.”
Move to bridge divisions
Wall Street Journal said both Modi and Trump have moved to bridge divisions as they agree to expand cooperation between their two countries on combating terrorism, stabilising Afghanistan and overcoming differences on trade.