The United States President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are scheduled to meet twice within a week this month, confirmed the Indian Ambassador to the United States, and asserted that the India-US Strategic Relationship has the possibility to become the “defining partnership within this century”.

Since his re-election in May 2019, PM Modi and President Trump have already met two times. The previous two meetings of the top two leaders were on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka and the G7 Summit in France.

Later this week, when the Indian Prime Minister has visited the United States for the United Nations General Assembly Session, they “are scheduled to meet twice more”, said the Indian Envoy Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

Therefore, they would have “four meetings in the span of a few months,” said Mr. Shringla during the ‘India on the Hills: Charting a Future for Indo-US Relations’ Event has jointly organized by two think-tanks – Observer Research Foundation (ORF) from India and the Heritage Foundation from the United States.

On Saturday, PM Modi is scheduled to arrive in Houston, following day President Trump would join him in addressing the “Howdy, Modi” Event, organized by Indian-Americans Communities and expected to attend by over 50000 people.

Both are again scheduled to meet later in the week in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly Sessions.

Mr. Shringla said, “They will meet on 22nd September. The US President is joining the Prime Minister in addressing a huge Indian diaspora event in Houston and they will also meet on the margins of the UNGA in New York.”

However, PM Modi and former United States President Barack Obama have the record of the maximum number of meetings, and it is for the first time that the United States President and Indian Prime Minister would met four times within tenure of four months.

While attending a panel discussing during the first-of-its-kind two-day event, Mr. Shringla was quoted saying, “It’s really reflective of the nature of the (India-US) relationship.”

He continued, “India-US strategic partnership has emerged as one of the key bilateral relationships from the start of this century and has the potential to become the defining partnership within this century.”

Mr. Shringla further said that the building blocks of its strategic partnership were the security cooperation that has appeared now in place.

He also highlighted that it was necessary to note how far the two nations have come in a short time of a decade since the civil nuclear deal.

The United States and India have signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (LEMOA), and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA). He continued that several other deals are at distinct stages of discussions.

Both the nations have conducted more bilateral exercises with each other they do with other nations. Bilateral exercises held annually include Cope-India (Air Force), Vajra Prahar (Special Forces), Malabar (naval exercise that also includes Japan), and Yudh Abhyas (Army), he added.

India has participated in the annual RIMPAC exercises and in the Red Flag exercises that are the US-led multinational exercises. Indian Defence procurements from the United States have encountered tremendous growth, said Mr. Shringla.   

The Indian Envoy continued, “We have also instituted the 2+2 Dialogue – a joint meeting between the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the two countries.”

Both nations have further engage through Trilateral Summit level meetings between India, Japan, and the United States, as well as Quadrilateral DG-level meetings between Japan, the United States, India, and Australia.

“It is worth mentioning that we also have a bilateral maritime security dialogue and several other defence cooperation dialogue mechanisms,” he said.

Mr. Shringla further said, “A key area that has seen close bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism. We have a Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism (JWGCT) and a Designations Dialogue. This cooperation also spills over into multilateral fora.”

“The listing of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar by the UN Security Council on May 2019, in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack, is one such instance,” he added.

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