No Questions Please: PM Modi, Donald Trump's First Media Encounter

PM Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump will meet at the White House on Monday for their first bilateral meeting.

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No Questions Please: PM Modi, Donald Trump's First Media Encounter

US President Donald Trump will host PM Narendra Modi at the White House.

New York:  After their first face to face meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump will read out a statement. But there will be no question and answer session with the press - considered a traditional part of the press briefing after bilateral meetings between two leaders.

The leaders of the two largest democracies are known to have much in common - huge social media followings, nationalist views and a lot more. The Trump Presidency's equivalent of PM Modi's 'Make in India' campaign are his "Buy American", "Hire American" "America First" maxims that lie at the heart of the proposed H1B Visa reforms that could pinch Indian software professionals.

"They'll start off with a one-on-one meeting. They'll go from the one-on-one meeting to the bilateral meetings. That will last for about an hour. Then they will each give press statements," a White House official said. The two leaders would move on to cocktail reception and then, a working dinner.

Though there is a strong speculation that doing away with the question and answer session was done at India's behest, a White House official the official added that it was "preferred by both leaders".

While no reasons were cited for the preference, the White House's relations with the domestic media in the Trump administration have been rocky at best. Mr Trump wrapped up his first foreign visit as President without once holding a news conference over the nine-day period. Back home, he put out a series of tweets attacking what he famously called "fake news".

No question-answer session was held after the meetings held between PM Modi and President Trump's predecessor Barack Obama as well.

President Trump and PM Modi have spoken thrice on the phone, the last one was in March-end, where the US president congratulated PM Modi for the BJP's performance in the state assembly elections.

Weeks later, President Trump announced his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, naming India as one of the "world's highly polluting countries" which reaped "billions of dollars". Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj denounced the allegations this month.

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The many issues the two leaders will discuss would include "counterterrorism, defence partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, global cooperation, burden-sharing, trade, law enforcement, and energy," White House spokesman Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

A US administration official later said there were no plans for Indian concerns over the proposed H1B visa reforms to come up specifically. Earlier this month, Ms Swaraj had indicated that the many changes in the immigration regime would need approval from the Congress. This, she had said, was one of the issues that PM Modi would raise during his visit.

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