Donald Trump says US-India trade deal soon, wants Modi, Imran to work 'something' out on Kashmir

  • Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that the US will soon have a trade deal with India

  • 'We will have a larger deal down the road ... but we will have a trade deal,' Trump told reporters in New York.

  • On the Kashmir issue, Trump said that it would be great if narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan can 'work out something'

US president Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that Washington will soon have a trade deal with New Delhi, and said it would be "great" if Pakistan and India worked out something to resolve the Kashmir issue.

"I think very soon. We are doing very well. (US trade representative) Robert Lighthizer is right here negotiating with India... I think, very soon we will have a trade deal," Trump told reporters in New York when asked if any trade deal is expected in the talks between India and the US.

"We will have a larger deal down the road... but we will have a trade deal," Trump added.

The US president made the remarks as he met Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session, their fourth meeting since Modi came to power for a second term in May.

The two countries are negotiating a trade package to iron out issues and promote the two-way commerce. The US has been pressuring India to lower duties on its products and address the trade gap.

Speaking at the press conference, Modi said: "As far as trade is concerned, I am very happy that in Houston, in my presence there was an agreement signed by Indian company Petronet for $ 2.5 billion, which is the amount of investment the Indian company is going to do in the energy sector and this will mean that in the years to come, this will result in trade of an amount of $60 billion and create 50,000 jobs which I think is a big initiative taken by India."

The Petronet deal, the largest by an Indian company in US LNG, came after Modi had a meeting with the CEOs of top US-based oil companies on Saturday last week.

On the Kashmir issue, Trump said that it would be great if Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan can "work out something" on Kashmir, distancing himself from any mediation between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

"I really believe that Modi and Khan will get along when they get to know each other. I think a lot of good things will come from that meeting... It will be great if they can work out something on Kashmir," Trump said in response to a volley of questions.

Trump had met Khan on Monday and once again offered to mediate between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir issue if both sides agree. India maintains that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral one and no third party has any role in it.

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution on 5 August to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. India's action evoked strong reactions from Pakistan which has since then downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi.

Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its "internal matter".

When asked about the terrorism emanating from the Pakistani soil and Pakistan Army's links to the militant groups, Trump said, "...the prime minister (Modi) will take care of it".

"You have a great prime minister, he will solve all problem," Trump said, responding to another question from an Indian journalist. Trump also said his country will soon have a trade deal with India to boost economic ties between the two nations.

Before the joint press conference on Tuesday, Modi and Trump had also met on Sunday in Houston, where they shared the stage at 'Howdy, Modi!' mega event.

At the press briefing on Tuesday, Modi praised Trump as "a good friend of India" and expressed his happiness over the US President joining him at the 'Howdy, Modi' rally. "I am thankful to Trump that he came to Houston. He is my friend but he is also a good friend of India," he said.

Trump spoke about his experience and said, "They love this gentleman to my right. People went crazy, he is like an American version of Elvis."

Modi presented a framed photograph from the 'Howdy, Modi' event to President Trump, who thanked him for the gesture.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Sep 25, 2019 00:13:52 IST