Trump’s Fishing for Business in India With Possible $3 Billion Worth of Arms

Published February 25th, 2020 - 01:13 GMT
US President Donald Trump sprays rose petals to pay tribute at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi, in New Delhi on February 25, 2020. Mandel NGAN / AFP
US President Donald Trump sprays rose petals to pay tribute at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi, in New Delhi on February 25, 2020. Mandel NGAN / AFP

In India, US President Donald Trump has talked of an agreement between New Delhi and Washington for the purchase of American military equipment, including attack helicopters, worth more than $3 billion.

Trump made the remarks at a joint press conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the capital New Delhi on Tuesday.

“Earlier today we expanded our defense cooperation with agreements for India to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache & MH-60 Romeo Helicopters — finest in the world. These will enhance our joint defense capabilities,” Trump said on the second day of his two-day visit to the South Asian nation.

New Delhi and Washington are yet to sign a trade deal, but the two countries would begin talks to strike a comprehensive agreement, both leaders said.

“Our teams have made tremendous progress for a comprehensive trade agreement & I’m optimistic we can reach a deal of great importance to both countries. Since I took office, US exports to India are up nearly 60% & exports of high quality American energy have grown by 500%,” the US president said.

Modi, in turn, said, "Today we discussed every important aspect of the US-India partnership, be it defense and security, energy strategic partnership, trade or people to people ties. The strengthening in defense ties between India and US is an important aspect of our partnership."

Elsewhere, Trump said he had discussed with Modi, whom he called his “dear friend,” the importance of a secure 5G telecoms network in India, ahead of a planned airwaves auction by the country.


“During our visit we discussed the importance of a secure 5G wireless network & the need for this emerging technology to be a tool for freedom, progress, prosperity, not to do anything with where it could be even conceived as a conduit for suppression & censorship,” he said.

The US has banned China’s Huawei Technologies, arguing the use of its kit creates the potential for espionage by China — a claim denied by Huawei and Beijing — but India, where telecoms companies have long used network gear from the Chinese firm, is yet to make a call.

Trump further said that India and the US were committed to protecting their citizens from terrorism, adding that the US was working productively with Pakistan to counter terrorists operating on its soil.

The US remains the top trading partner for India. The bilateral trade between the two countries is approximately 62 percent in goods and 38 percent in services.

India, on the other hand, has been improving ties with Russia, in a move that aggravated Washington and prompted it to threaten New Delhi with sanctions earlier in January over a plan to purchase advanced Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems.

India, however, said it can make its own arms purchases independently, with its external affairs minister stressing last November that New Delhi would “not be influenced by other countries on what we do in terms of our national security and defense.”

Trump’s visit to India comes following days of protests in the country over a new citizenship law which offers a path to Indian citizenship for religious minorities in neighboring countries, but excludes Muslims.

Trump was expected to bring up with Modi the issue of India’s citizenship law that critics argue discriminates against Muslims.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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