Issue Brief on “Trump’s India Visit: Optics vs Substance”

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US President Donald Trump led a 12-member delegation to India on a 36-hour long visit from February 24-25, 2020 at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trump was the fourth consecutive President of the United States to visit India. The main takeaways of the visit have been a US $ 3 billion deal where India would buy state of the art US military equipment including MH60R naval and AH-64E Apache helicopters. Other deals were also signed in the fields of health and energy. However, the much speculative trade deal could not be signed and it seems would have to wait till the elections in the US are concluded later this year. The joint statement issued after the visit expressed the desire of both the countries to further enhance India-US comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership. It was decided to deepen defence and security cooperation through maritime and space domain, awareness and information sharing, advanced training and exercises between all services and special forces, and collaboration on co-development and co-production of defence components. India’s status as a major Defence Partner was also reiterated providing it the highest consideration for procurement and technology transfer purposes. The joint statement also welcomed the joint venture by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for development and launch of a joint mission with the world’s first dual-frequency synthetic Aperture Radar satellite in 2022. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Westinghouse Electric Company were also encouraged to finalise the techno-commercial offer for the construction of six nuclear reactors in India. President Trump also announced his support for India’s permanent membership in the United Nations and its entry into the Nuclear suppliers Group. [1]

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