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With hugs and praise, Narendra Modi and Donald Trump strike rapport

27 June 2017

US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called North Korea's pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes a "grave threat" to global peace, the White House said in a statement after a meeting of the two leaders on Monday.

Briefing reporters on the meeting, Foreign Secretary, S Jaishankar said counter-terrorism was a major issue that was discussed between Trump and Modi during the day. "We have also made a decision to enhance maritime security cooperation between the two nations", the prime minister said.

The two leaders recognised that terrorism is a "global scourge" which must be fought and terrorist safe havens rooted out in every part of the world.

Emphasising on how both nations - the USA and India - are deeply affected by the malaise of terrorism, Trump said that they have resolved to fight terrorism in the best way possible.

Modi appreciated the "warm welcome" accorded to him by President Trump and First Lady Melania and said, "We consider the U.S. as our primary partner for India's social and economic transformation in all our flagship programs and schemes". Both our nations have been struck by the evils of terrorism and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organisations and the radical ideology that drives them. Trump said his administration is going to enforce "Hire American" rules that are created to protect jobs and wages of workers in the US.

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During the delegation-level meeting, the two leaders touched upon various topics ranging from purchase of military equipment to the bilateral relations between the two nations.

PM Modi hugs Donald Trump as he departures the White House after a visit, in Washington.

When Modi arrived at the White House, he was greeted not just by Trump but also Melania, as is the usual United States tradition. He said the US and India will enhance intelligence-sharing.

Modi said he was eager to welcome Ivanka, who was seated in the audience along with her husband, key Trump adviser Jared Kushner. "I appreciate India's efforts in Afghanistan", Trump said. "This was really an occasion for us to send a message that India was a reliable dependable partner, that was fully reciprocated on the American side", he said. He made sure to mention the need for "fair and reciprocal trade" and asked that trade barriers be removed and steps be taken to reduce the United States trade deficit with India, which is around $30 billion - a low figure compared to China, but an irritant nonetheless.

Modi offered yet another embrace as he departed the White House.

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Tewari said, "All that President Trump has appreciated is the order placed by a private Indian aviation company to buy 100 airplanes from the United States which only helps in creating jobs in U.S.".

"As our economy grows. we can potentially create a lot of jobs for Americans in the United States", he said.

While President Trump showed PM Narendra Modi a copy of President Lincoln's famous Gettysburg address and the desk on which he wrote it. Past year the United States trade deficit with India neared $31 billion. "He is doing a great job".

Trump administration officials have pointed to both leaders' impact on social media - each has more than 30 million Twitter followers - as proof they are cut from the same cloth.

I am sure that under your leadership, our mutually beneficial strategic partnership will gain new strength, new positivity, and will reach new heights, and that your vast and successful experience in the business world will lend an aggressive and forward-looking agenda to our relations, he said. After shaking Trump's hand, Modi went in for a third and final public hug - resting his head first near Trump's left shoulder, then near his right.

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