Modi US visit: Indian envoy pins hope on strengthening bilateral ties

Ashoke Raj | Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], June 24 (ANI): India's Ambassador to the United States Navtej Sarna on Saturday expressed hope that the upcoming three-day visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States -- his first during the tenure of President Donald Trump -- will help both leaders to exchange views on subjects of interest to both countries, and thus result in a further strengthening of the bilateral relationship. Sarna, in an exclusive conversation with ANI, said, "This is a very important visit by the Prime Minister of India. This is his first meeting with President Trump. They have been in touch over the telephone. They have had at least three very good telephonic conversations." "We are looking forward to a very good visit. A very good programme has been lined up by the White House. We expect that it will provide sufficient time to the two leaders to get to know each other as well as to exchange views on a wide variety of subjects which are of part of the India-US bilateral strategic partnership," he added. The two leaders will first meet for one-on-one talks at around 3.30 p.m. on Monday (Tuesday 1a.m. IST), and after a brief photo-op with the media, they will head for delegation-level talks, followed by a cocktail reception. The day will culminate with a White House dinner, the first by the Trump administration for a visiting foreign leader. Prime Minister Modi is expected to hold talks with Trump on the regional security situation as also on ways to enhance cooperation in bilateral areas of strategic importance. In the U.S., he will have a community event as well as a meeting with business leaders. Talking about Prime Minister Modi's engagements with the community as well as CEOs in Washington, Ambassador Sarna said, "As I said, community is a very important plank of the bilateral relationship. It's a three million strong and very successful community, economically and professionally." "They are today politically active. So, they are very important part of our engagements with the United States and they play a very important role. So, I think it's a great occasion for them to meet the Prime Minister," he added. Talking about the business meet, the Indian envoy said that the round-table discussion with 20-odd top CEOs from America will provide an opportunity to them to tell us what their plans are, how they are looking at India as a market, India as a destination, India as somebody they can work with, perhaps a two-way investment. "The event will provide an opportunity for Prime Minister Modi to have this exchange of views, to listen to the plans, to listen and examine any problem that they may be facing," he said. When asked about the change in relationship since the Trump administration has taken charge in the United States, Sarna said, "Certainly, it's a new administration. There's a change of personnel." "There will be a change of nuance. We have to see what new changes and the new things the new President and his administration brings in, but I am very confident that with the new administration, the India-US engagement will grow stronger and stronger," he insisted. (ANI)