WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, President Donald Trump welcomed India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their first official, in-person meeting, in which both leaders agreed that their “top priority” is to “destroy radical Islamic terrorism” and end terrorist “safe shelters, sanctuaries, and safe havens.”
“The top priority for both President Trump and myself is to protect our society from global challenges like terrorism — and because our aim is the strengthening of India and the USA – two great democracies in the world – friends,” Modi said from his podium at the White House Rose Garden.
Prior to his speech, Trump acknowledged, “Both our nations have been struck by the evils of terrorism, and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them. We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism.” He assured, “Our militaries are working every day to enhance cooperation between our military forces.”
“We consider the USA as our primary partner for India’s social and economic transformation,” Modi said. India is on a path towards massive economic growth over the next eight to ten years and the opportunity for investments from both sides is apparent. He added, “I am sure that the convergence between my vision for a ‘new India’ and President Trump’s vision for ‘making America great again’ will add new dimensions to our cooperation.”
“I am very clear about the fact that India’s interests lie in a strong, and prosperous, and successful America,” Modi said. “In the same way, India’s development and its growing role at the international level are in the USA’s interest.”
Modi said he and Trump “discussed the serious challenges of terrorism, extremism, and radicalization, which are the major challenges facing the world today.” He noted that both nations “have agreed to enhance our cooperation in fighting against these scourges. Fighting terrorism and doing away with the safe shelters, sanctuaries, and safe havens will be an important part of our cooperation.”
Additionally, Modi stated that both the U.S. and India have agreed to increase intelligence sharing to coordinate efforts to thwart future terrorist attacks.
Afghanistan, a country both India and America have invested in as a strategic ally, has been subjected to “increasing instability due to terrorism,” he said. Both America and India have invested in rebuilding Afghanistan’s civil society and played a role in its security, a point that will also require increased communication between the U.S. and India.
The United States and India have long expressed similar concerns surrounding instability in Afghanistan, as well as potential issues regarding west Asia, maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, and cyberspace. The growing influence of Iran and China in the region have caused both governments concern.
Modi also noted that the Indo-Pacific region is another area of interest in order to maintain peace, stability, and prosperity. He said, “We will continue to work with the USA in this region.”
Additionally, Modi spoke of “strengthening of India’s defense capabilities, with the help of USA.” He added, “We have also decided to enhance maritime security cooperation between the two nations.”
Modi touched upon the importance of developing strong “trade, commerce, and investment links” between India and the United States.
Modi thanked Trump for “providing great leadership” and hailed his “vast and successful experience in the business world.” Modi also noted Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan and drew to stress that his agenda for his country was little different than Trump’s.
As expected, neither the H-1B visa issue or Paris climate accord were discussed during Trump’s and Modi’s public statements.
At the conclusion of his speech, Modi extended an open invitation to Trump and his family to visit India. He also invited Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, to lead the U.S. delegation for the Global Innovation Summit this fall.