See More on Facebook

News

India, US finalise defence deals, make progress on trade pact

Mr Trump was on a 36-hour, three-city tour of India, accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump as well as his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner.


Written by

Updated: February 26, 2020

US President Donald Trump said India and the United States have finalised defence deals worth US$3 billion (S$4.2 billion). He added that the two countries have made “tremendous progress” on a trade deal during his visit to India that has reaffirmed India’s closeness to the US, in contrast to a more hawkish China.

Mr Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met yesterday, a day after a mega “Namaste Trump” welcome rally attended by more than 100,000 people kicked off a state visit marked by pomp and pageantry.

Mr Trump praised Indian hospitality, and in remarks to the press, noted that he had been told no leader had received such a welcome before.

“We think we’re at a point where our relationship is so special with India. It has never been as good as it is right now, and I think that’s because of the two leaders of each country – really we feel very strongly about each other,” said Mr Trump.

The two sides also announced that relations had been upgraded to a “comprehensive strategic global partnership”, which officials said reflected the increase in cooperation in defence and security, flagged by both sides as a key aspect in ties.

“Earlier today, we expanded our defence cooperation with agreements for India to purchase more than US$3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters – finest in the world. These will enhance our joint defence capabilities,” said Mr Trump in a statement after talks with Mr Modi.

The Indian Prime Minister called defence and security cooperation “a very important aspect of our strategic partnership”.

India and the US have been growing closer, with the US seeing India as a counterweight to a rising China, and India seeking greater cooperation with the US. Still, differences remain, particularly over trade. The US is pushing for greater access for US dairy products, among other areas.

Both sides said that they will work towards a bigger trade deal while concluding legal aspects of a mini deal related to US access to Indian agriculture, among other sectors.

Mr Trump, however, emphasised at a press conference that India was charging high tariffs, particularly on Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

“The US has to be treated fairly. India understands it,” he said.

For its part, India is wary of US ties with Pakistan and past offers by Mr Trump to mediate on Kashmir, a disputed area between India and Pakistan. Mr Modi has also faced criticism in the US over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which gives Indian citizenship to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Mr Trump said he had discussed religious freedom with Mr Modi, and hoped India “will do the right thing” with regard to the CAA, which he called an internal matter.

The two leaders also discussed cooperation on pandemics, in the light of the coronavirus outbreak.

“There was some sense we need to work together on pandemics, including working on ways to control pandemics and protect our respective populations, particularly in connection with the coronavirus, which is a concern,” said Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

Analysts said the visit was important in growing ties. “These visits are building blocks and a signalling mechanism… India’s neighbours Pakistan and China would be watching very closely,” said former Indian foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal.

“Mr Trump will have a better understanding of India, and the rapport he has with Mr Modi is helpful. Of course, hardcore issues won’t be decided on rapport. But in a lot of things, we see that the relationship gets pulled up or down because of lack of rapport between leaders.”

Talks took place even as East Delhi was hit by the worst violence in recent years, with clashes between protesters over the CAA.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

News

Taiwan: 720,000 people registered for purchasing face masks online

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that more than 722,000 people — 600,000 using the NHI app and 122,000 more using the Emask system — had successfully registered for purchasing face masks as of 1 p.m. Asked about people who have reportedly tried to register again, CECC Chief Commander Chen Shih-chung called on the public to stop, stressing that authorities are committed to providing a set of face masks to each user prior to March 18, the official deadline for registration. Regarding some reported phone scams on payment requirements for face masks, Chen asked users to remain vigilant. Access is limited to Taiwan residents who need to register their NHI number, obtain proper digital certification and downloa


By Asia News Network
March 13, 2020

News

Covid-19 outbreak will continue for a year or longer; more stringent measures may need to be put in place, says PM Lee

 In a video address on his social media channels, PM Lee emphasised that the situation in Singapore remains under control. The Covid-19 outbreak will continue for some time – a year, and maybe longer – said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his second national address on the situation on Thursday (March 12). But if Singaporeans keep up their guard and take practical precautions, the country will be able to keep its economy going and people will be able to carry on with their daily lives, he said. In a video address on his social media channels, PM Lee emphasised that the situation in Singapore remains under control. The disease outbreak response level will not be stepped up to red, the highest level, he said. It is c


By The Straits Times
March 13, 2020

News

Foreigners play their part in Shanghai’s epidemic prevention

 Expat volunteers have been active in helping the city overcome the COVID-19 outbreak. Twelve foreign residents in Shanghai have joined a volunteer team to help with the city’s COVID-19 prevention and control. Located in Minhang district, the team was established on Feb 10 by the Jinfeng International Community Development Association, which aims to promote the development of Huacao town and the Jinfeng International Community by organising themed activities and public welfare events. Pakistani Amir Shafiq Khan joined the team to give back. “It’s easy to run away to another country, but I felt that my family and I should contribute to China in this difficult time as it has always offered opportunities to us,” says Khan, who has lived in


By China Daily
March 13, 2020

News

Asian stock markets take cue from US to hit fresh lows

ST Index careens into bear territory for the first time since January 2016 Many stock markets across Asia, including in Singapore, followed the United States into bear territory after US President Donald Trump stopped short of offering a detailed rescue package as the coronavirus outbreak was declared a global pandemic. Adding to fears, oil prices slumped further. The Straits Times Index (STI) careened into bear territory for the first time since January 2016. The last time that the STI was in a bear market – where stocks have fallen at least 20 per cent from their recent high – was during the oil price rout in 2016. The STI finished down 3.77 per cent yesterday, and more than 21 per cent down from a peak of 3,407.02 on April 29 last year.


By The Straits Times
March 13, 2020

News

askST: Can coronavirus be spread by sweat, or via activities such as singing?

There is currently no evidence showing that the virus can be transmitted through one’s perspiration. Concerns have been raised over social activities such as singing and exercising in the light of the coronavirus outbreak. As of Wednesday (March 11), Singapore’s largest Safra Jurong cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases went up to 40, against a total of 178 cases. The patients, who had attended a Feb 15 Chinese New Year celebration held in the ballroom of Joy Garden restaurant at Safra Jurong, are members of a Hokkien singing group. This has raised concerns as to whether the disease, known as Covid-19, can be transmitted through singing. Similar concerns have been expressed about whether the virus can be spread through sweat b


By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020

News

Bangladesh to benefit from coronavirus fallout: survey

Study says globally renowned companies are planning to shift work orders from China to other Asian countries, including Bangladesh. Bangladesh will benefit from the fallout of the coronavirus as most of the globally renowned companies are planning to shift work orders from China to other Asian countries, including Bangladesh, according to a new survey. Hong Kong-based QIMA, a leading provider of supply chain compliance solutions and which partners with brands, retailers and importers to secure, manage and optimise their global supply network, surveyed the executives of more than 200 globally renowned companies between February and early March. Half of the survey respondents are considering shifting supplier sourcing away from China to new countries or r


By Daily Star
March 12, 2020