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Donald Trump welcomes 'true friend' as PM Modi arrives in Washington

26 Juin 2017

"The old way of doing business where the U.S. will invest without thinking about benefits in return can no longer work as the politics in the United States has changed a lot in these last few months", Harsh V. Pant, a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation and professor of worldwide relations at King's College London, told Sputnik. The Indian diaspora overseas has possibilities and exposure. Modi was just four-month old into his new job.

During a Community Reception hosted by Indian Ambassador Navtej Sarna on Sunday afternoon in Virgina, Modi spoke to a packed house of Indian Americans, many of whom traveled from across the nation to meet him. It was an unusually simple affair.

While Trump has pledged to bring jobs back to the US coal industry, Modi's government has set ambitious renewable energy targets - including a pledge to sell only electric cars by 2030.

Things have changed rapidly since then.

Speaking on the counter-terrorism offensive carried out by India in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in September 2016, Modi said: "The surgical strike demonstrated that India, which normally follows restraint, can also defend its sovereignty and ensure its security".

Mr Modi's speech could be an attempt to strike a chord with the tough-talking Mr Trump ahead of the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders, correspondents say. "This is good governance", Modi said. "Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend!"

It seems clear that the Trump administration has a clear strategy on how they wish to handle south Asia and active involvement could be a tangible option in pursuing that strategy. -Indian relations since Trump took office on January 20 add gravity to the meeting.

"Thank you @POTUS for the warm personal welcome".

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Pichai, Cook, and Bezos came out of the meeting seeming pleased with the discussion and excited to invest in India.

Despite the sweet talks, it is uncertain whether the relationship between two leaders would go on to become similar to the one PM Modi shared with former US President Barack Obama.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra #Modi arrived in Washington on Sunday 25 June 2017.

On April 4, Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, now in the Trump administration, said in a press conference, "It's absolutely right that this administration is concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward".

Some commentators have argued that Modi and Trump should have a natural affinity. "Now terrorists have explained terrorism to them so we don't have to", Modi said.

Both also entertain a wary relationship with the media - preferring to reach out directly to their base via social media, where Modi's almost 31 million Twitter followers rival Trump's 32 million.

While progress is expected in defense trade and cooperation, Trump, who campaigned on an "America First" platform has been irritated by the growing US trade deficit with India and has called for reform of the H1B visa system that has benefited Indian tech firms.