US President Donald Trump -- sharing stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the huge public function by Indian Americans in Houston on Sunday -- papered over the tariff-related tensions between the two nations, underscoring the growing trade ties and a shared destination of great prosperity.
"India has never invested in the US like it is doing today and it is reciprocal, we are doing the same in India... We are committed to ensuring that Indians have access to the world's best products," President Trump said.
"PM Modi, I look forward to working with you to make our nations more prosperous than ever before... You have never had a better friend in the White House than President Donald Trump," he added.
Ahead of the meeting, the White House had described President Trump's gesture of sharing stage with the Prime Minister as "strategic partnership between the world's oldest and largest democracies, and to discuss ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship,"
Ironing out the differences over tariffs and seeking investment as part of the government's efforts to revive the sluggish economy are two of the key trade goals for PM Modi, who is hoping to make India a 5 trillion dollar economy over the next five years.
The government has already eased the norms for foreign direct investment. Making a passing mention of that, the Prime Minister, who is expected to attend several trade-related meetings over the next few days, said, "I hope to have some positive results from my talks with President Trump over the next few days... while he calls me a top negotiator, he is a master of the Art of the Deal".
India's growth rate, the Prime Minister said, has averaged 7.3% in the last five years. "This has never happened before. For the first time, there is low inflation, high growth," he added.
PM Modi's week-long visit comes amid trade tension between the two nations over tariffs, which is expected to be discussed over the bilateral meet between the two leaders on Tuesday.
In June this year, the US ended the preferential trade status for India that allowed imports to the tune of $5.6 billion to enter the US duty-free. India retaliated with tariff hikes on 28 American products that reportedly cost the US around $220 million. India -- already the sixth-largest buyer of US liquefied natural gas -- is open to negotiations and wants its preferential trade status restored for a few more years, reports said.
On Sunday, the US President was warmly welcomed to the meet by PM Modi, who had underscored the great personal warmth and rapport that existed between them despite the recent differences.
"We have met a few times and every time he has been the warm, friendly, accessibly, energetic and full of wit... His sense of leadership, a passion for America, a concern for every American, a belief in American future and a strong resolve to make America great again. And he has already made the American economy strong again. He has achieved much for the US and for the world," PM Modi had said.
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