Trump declares US-India relationship 'stronger than ever before'

Trump declares US-India relationship 'stronger than ever before'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools MORE cheered his relationship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and declared the U.S.-India partnership “stronger than ever before” on Tuesday.

Trump and Modi during a joint press statement touted the new defense cooperation between the two countries and progress on various fronts over the president’s past two days in India.

Still, a comprehensive trade agreement between the U.S. and India remains elusive after the two-day meeting, though Trump insisted “tremendous progress” had been made on the topic.

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“Prime Minister Modi, we have made tremendous advances for our people over the past few days and, working together, I know that our two nations will continue to achieve new breakthroughs, unlock new potential and forge even brighter futures in the years ahead,” Trump said.

“I am pleased to say that the U.S.-Indian partnership is now truly stronger than ever before,” Trump continued. “This was a great visit with a tremendous friend and a tremendous leader.”

The president thanked India for offering him and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpUK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus Trump defends million in Kennedy Center funding in coronavirus stimulus Budowsky: President Trump, meet with all former living presidents MORE an “outstanding welcome” the day before, when roughly 100,000 Indian residents gathered at a cricket stadium in Ahmedabad to participate in a rally-type event called “Namaste Trump.”

Modi called the event an “unprecedented and historic welcome” that will “always be remembered” and said he was happy Trump brought his family along for the visit. The U.S. delegation included Trump’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump says first lady tested negative for coronavirus Pence says he will be tested for coronavirus Rush, Trish and left-leaning media: Is it opinion or news reporting? MORE and her husband, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerWhite House preparing to promote malaria drugs on online platform to combat coronavirus: report Politics and the pandemic — Republicans are rightly worried In the Saudi-Russian oil price war, the US blinks first MORE, who is also a White House senior adviser.

“In the last eight months, this is the fifth meeting between President Trump and myself,” Modi said. “This relationship is the most important partnership of the 21st century.”

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Officials announced Tuesday that the United States and India signed two memorandums of understanding — one on mental health and another on safety of drug products — and that India had inked a letter of cooperation with Exxon Mobil to improve India’s natural gas distribution network.

Trump also touted a deal he announced during his remarks in Ahmedabad a day prior in which India agreed to purchase roughly $3 billion in U.S. military helicopters.

Trump said both sides also discussed combating “radical Islamic terrorism,” the importance of a secure 5G wireless network and trade.

Trump has spoken optimistically about securing a trade pact with India, but tempered expectations ahead of his trip about the possibility a deal would be completed soon, saying it could be delayed until after the November presidential election.

“Our teams have made tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement, and I’m optimistic we can reach a deal that will be of great importance to both countries,” Trump said Tuesday.

The remarks between Trump and Modi at the joint press conference came after an expanded bilateral meeting between officials from both countries.

There was no explicit mention of India’s controversial new citizenship law, which favors non-Muslims and has prompted protests in the capital of New Delhi, though Trump noted during his remarks that the U.S. and India have always been “united by shared traditions of democracy and constitutions that protect freedom, individual rights and the rule of law.”