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Government exploring visit by US President early next year

The contours of the visit could be finalised during defence and foreign ministers’ visit to Washington for the second edition of the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. The US President had recently hinted that he would visit India soon.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 22, 2019, 08.39 AM IST
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US President Donald Trump
NEW DELHI: The Modi government is exploring a visit by President Donald Trump to Delhi early next year as the two sides look to seal a trade deal with limited scope.

The visit could occur early next year ahead of Trump’s schedule for US Presidential elections, ET has learnt. However, the proposed visit is in still in works and no date has been fixed, a source quipped.

The contours of the visit could be finalised when Foreign and Defence Ministers visit Washington for second edition of 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. ET was first to report in July that Trump could visit India either final quarter of this year or early next year. Recently Trump hinted that he would visit India.

Last year there were speculations that Trump could visit India for 2019 Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest which, however, did not fructify for a variety of reasons including the State of Union address.

India and the US are understood to have resolved most of the important trade issues, thus paving the way for an ''initial trade package'' wherein the two countries are looking for an equitable market access. The progress is believed to have been made during the meeting between the Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and US Trade Representatives Robert Lighthizer in Washington last week.

A high-powered US delegation will travel to India to give a final shape to what is being described as an initial trade package which will eventually pave the way for a major trade pact between the two countries.

However, the Democrat-dominated US Congress has emerged as a headache for India with left leaning Democrats building up pressure on the Modi government over the Kashmir situation. The Indian Embassy in Washington has undertaken a massive outreach to blunt Pakistani campaign through these US lawmakers.

However, on Wednesday in what could be viewed as a shot in arm for India Congressman Pete Olson from Texas backed India’s decision to abrogate Article 370. “Jammu-Kashmir was given special treatment in the Constitution of 1947 in India. It was created by the “temporary provisions with respect to the state of Jammu-Kashmir.” It’s known as Article 370. It was supposed to be a stop-gap measure because the government hadn’t been formed yet. For 70 straight years, this temporary article has forced citizens of Jammu-Kashmir to live under different laws than all other Indians: different rules for citizenship and property ownership,” Olson said on the floor of the House on Wednesday.

“Earlier this year, the Indian parliament confirmed that Article 370’s temporary status should end. It ended. It gave the people of Jammu-Kashmir the same rights as all Indians. It was a landslide: 125 to 61 in the Rajya Sabha and 370 to 70 in the Lok Sabha. This action creates equality for all Indians. Hopefully this action can be a stepping stone to peace in Kashmir,” Olson felt.
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