U.S. President Donald Trump plans to discuss Kashmir, the Indo-U.S. partnership, defence, human rights, counter-terrorism and trade with Prime Minister Modi this weekend at the G 7 summit in Biarritz. This information was conveyed to reporters on a briefing call by senior administration officials in the U.S.
“President Trump is very much looking forward to his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi where they will discuss the strategic partnership and how they can cooperate more closely on issues like defence cooperation, counter terrorism and trade. We expect the two leaders to build on the very productive discussions they had in Osaka at the G20 as well as the phone call that they held earlier this week,” a senior administration official on the call said.
Mr. Trump, who believes that the U.S. is being treated unfairly by the world trading system, will also discuss tariffs and market access issues the U.S. has with India. Although bilateral trade between them has increased over the past few years, trade issues have become a significant challenge in the relationship between India and the U.S.
“They will look for solutions on the trade front. The U.S. is looking to India to reduce tariffs and open its markets,” reporters were told.
Human rights in Kashmir
In his discussions with Mr. Modi, Mr. Trump will also raise human rights concerns in the unfolding situation in Kashmir following the August 5 abrogation of Article 370 (special status for Kashmir) by India, the officials said.
“We do expect the issue of India-Pakistan relations to come up. The President will likely want to hear from Prime Minister Modi on how he plans to reduce regional tensions and uphold respect for human rights in Kashmir as part of India’s role as the world’s largest democracy. India’s decision to rescind Article 370 in Kashmir is an internal decision but certainly with regional implications. And President Trump will likely want to hear how Prime Minister Modi intends to calm regional tensions in light of this significant move.”
‘Need for dialogue’
Of concern are the restrictions on movement and communications in Kashmir, and this will be raised by Mr. Trump in his talks with Prime Minister Modi as per the senior administration officials.
The U.S. administration also called on Pakistan to end its support for terror groups operating in Kashmir. “The President is likely to stress the need for dialogue among all sides of the conflict and it is hoped that India will lift the communications and movement restrictions in Kashmir and exercise the utmost restraint in dealing with potential protests. And certainly President Trump is also calling on Pakistan to prevent infiltration of militants across the Line of Control that divides Kashmir and to crackdown on groups on its territory that have attacked India in the past.”