Donald Trump in India: High hopes from US president’s visit but challenges remain

Fresh from his impeachment acquittal in the US Senate last week, US President Donald Trump will pay his maiden visit India from 24-25 February 2020. Melania Trump will accompany him for a hectic programme in Ahmedabad and New Delhi, which will include a public event at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, where 150,000 people are expected to turn up.

Indo-US relations have seen an all-round upswing over the past few years, including trade, investments, defence, counter-terrorism, energy, coordination on regional and global issues as well as people to people exchanges. US is India’s largest trade partner, having invested US$30 billion into India.

India has also invested US$ 11 billion into the USA. Around 200,000 Indian students study in the USA, contributing $6 billion as tuition fees for the US universities.

Also Read: Pakistan hopes Donald Trump will discuss mediation offer on Kashmir matter with PM Narendra Modi during India visit

The visit of Indian foreign and defence ministers to the USA for the second edition of the 2+2 ministerial dialogue in December 2019 had seen the signature of the Industrial Security Annex (ISA) and three agreements under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative to secure technology transfer and co-production of critical technologies.

Also signed on this occasion were agreements related to exchange of parliamentarians, cooperation in space situational awareness, science and technology, water and people to people interactions. Trump’s forthcoming visit has raised expectations that the two countries could work out a limited trade agreement which US negotiators believe should bring down Indian trade surplus with the US.

In any case, this surplus has narrowed down drastically over the last two years, with bilateral trade jumping to $160 billion in 2019 compared to US$142 billion in 2018 mainly due to Indian energy imports from the USA.

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