India

"Everybody Loves Him, But He's Very Tough": Trump On PM Modi

US President Donald Trump meets with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Ahmedabad:

Visiting India against the backdrop of tense talks over trade, US President Donald Trump today called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "tough negotiator" as he talked about a "fantastic trade deal" between the two countries. "PM Modi is a great leader. Everybody loves him, but he's very tough," President Trump quipped as he addressed thousands at a packed cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, sharing the stage with the Prime Minister.

"We are working on a very comprehensive trade deal between India and the United States... one that will benefit both nations.... India is a very large market for US exports and US is India's largest market in terms of export...so a strong US is great for India," President Trump said.

"We will soon have a big trade deal, which is currently being negotiated. Prime Minister Modi is a very tough negotiator," he remarked, making a second reference to India's tough stand.

President Trump vowed to boost trade ties between the US and India and said the US was prepared to supply India with defence equipment ranging from drones to helicopters and missile systems. He also said he looked forward to expanding space cooperation between the two nations and said both sides were at the early stages of reaching an "incredible" trade agreement.

Hopes that the world's two largest democracies could negotiate a "confidence building" deal in time for President Trump's visit faded in recent days as differences over agriculture, medical devices, digital trade and proposed new tariffs festered.

The two sides have been arguing over US demands for access to India's poultry and dairy markets, Indian price controls on medical devices such as stents and stringent local data storage rules that US technology firms say will raise the cost of doing business. The Indian government has sought restoration of trade concessions that Trump withdrew in 2019 and greater access to US.

The two countries are expected to announce defence deals including an Indian navy plan to buy helicopters from Lockheed Martin worth $2.6 billion.