Trump’s India visit aimed at deepening strategic ties: White House

 Washington:  US President Donald Trump’s maiden official visit to India was aimed at deepening the strategic bilateral partnership, the White House has said after he concluded his whirlwind 36-hour tour to the country.

The US and India benefit from the strong economic ties that advance prosperity, investment and job creation in both the countries, the White House said in a statement titled ‘President Donald J Trump is strengthening our strategic partnership with India’.

Underlining it was the first official visit of the president to India, the White House said that both the countries enjoyed a long-standing trade relationship, exceeding USD 142 billion in 2018 alone.

India is a growing destination for American energy exports, it said, adding that during President Trump’s tenure, energy exports to India have grown substantially, generating billions of dollars in revenue. In India, ExxonMobil signed a deal to further improve India’s natural gas distribution network so that the country can accept even more American LNG exports, it said. The White House said that the US president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are working towards a trade pact that reflects the full potential of the bilateral economic partnership.

“The United States and India are committed to investing in sustainable, transparent, quality infrastructure in the region,” it said. According to the White House, the two nations are deepening their security relationship and helping to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region. “The United States is working closely with India to combat terrorism, confront global drug trafficking and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it said.

“President Trump and Prime Minister Modi are calling on other countries in the region to take steps to counter terrorism. The United States India defence cooperation contributes to the prosperity and security of the entire Indo-Pacific region,” it said. During his visit, Trump spoke about the importance of the United States-India relationship before a crowd of more than 110,000 people at the Ahmedabad’s Motera stadium, the White House said, adding that he had the privilege of visiting some of India’s cherished cultural sites, including the Taj Mahal in Agra.

During the US president’s visit, India announced it will procure military equipment, including Apache and MH-60R helicopters, worth over USD3 billion. Trump and Modi also discussed the importance of building secure 5G systems to promote a trusted networking future, the White House said.