President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet face-to-face for the first time in Washington on Monday in an attempt to forge a stronger relationship between the two countries. Trump and Modi are scheduled to give joint statements at 5:15 pm EST.
“The White House is very interested in making this a special visit,” one senior official said, according to Business Insider. “We’re really seeking to roll out the red carpet”.
Immigration is expected to be a major topic of discussion and possible source of tension between the two world leaders.
India has been one of the world’s biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B visa program, a significant way in which IT talent makes its way from India to the U.S. to work for some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies.
But ever since Trump entered the White House, he has promoted his “hire American buy American” philosophy which could effect the current H-1B program, hurting India’s IT outsourcing and its economy overall.
According to CNBC, a senior Indian government official said that Modi “is prepared to dive into this complicated discussion by highlighting the value Indian-Americans have contributed to the U.S. economy, including an estimated 64,000 jobs.”
Defense is expected to be on the table and could be an issue where both leaders can come together.
“Defense is where India and the U.S. will likely see eye to eye,” IHS Markit’s Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin, an energy and international politics specialist, told CNBC.
It is expected that Modi will express his desire to purchase more American arms.
It remains to be seen how the two men will get along but both leaders appear to possess many of the same character traits including an affinity for Twitter, where both Trump and Modi have over 30 million followers each.
“If the chemistry is good, everything else gets sorted,” an Indian official said. “The only way is up. How much up we go depends on the leaders. If they click, we go up higher.”
[image via screengrab]
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