PM Modi-Trump to hold bilateral in Osaka, and trilateral with Abe

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet US President Donald Trump, for the first time after his re-election, on the sidelines of the upcoming G-20 summit in Osaka. The two leaders will together meet with Japan’s Shinzo Abe for the second edition of their trilateral meeting.

.The Modi-Trump bilateral was announced by US officials at background call to preview the American president’s visits to Osaka, Japan and then on to South Korea. Trump is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings also with host Abe, China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin-Salman and others.

Prime Minister Modi will have a series of bilateral meetings at the G-20 as well, which will be announced separately by the Indian government closer to the visit perhaps.

No agenda has been announced yet for the Modi-Trump meeting but the two leaders can be expected to discuss trade, which has emerged as the chief cause of friction between the two countries that have otherwise seen growing convergence on a whole host of other issues, including strategic ties with a special emphasis on a free and open Indo-Pacific region, defense purchases and military exercises.

Trade will be high on President Trump’s agenda. A senior administration official said, referring to the president agenda generally for the summit and specific to any one country, there will be “tremendous focus” on issues such as “state-directed economic activity, IP theft, forced technology transfer (that was a thinly veiled reference to China) … (and) tariffs and non-tariff barriers (key areas of differences with India, which was not specified by the briefers)”.

The official also said, “We believe the G20 economies need to work together to advance open, fair, and market-based digital policies, including the free flow of data.” India was not named, but its new and proposed e-commerce and data localization rules have drawn criticism from the United States, adding to a growing list of differences.

Modi, Trump and Abe will meet for their second trilateral, which the Indian leader has called JAI, made of the first letters of the names of the three countries. The inaugural meeting was held in in Buenos Aires in 2018. At their Osaka meeting, they will “pursue their shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific”, the White House had said after a phone call from Trump to Modi in May to congratulate him on his “historic election victory”.

First Published:
Jun 25, 2019 21:02 IST

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