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Modi leaves for U.S. after concluding Portugal trip

25 June 2017

However, a senior administration official refrained from confirming reports that the State Department has approved the sale of 22 Guardian drones to India. The deal is estimated to be worth about $2 billion.

The deal would still require approval by Congress. California-based General Atomics, the maker of the Guardian drone sought by India, declined to comment.

The Modi-Trump summit, following in the footsteps of President Obama's two visits to India (including as the featured guest on Republic Day) and the Prime Minister's two previous visits to Washington (including his triumphal address in Congress last June), promises further progress on several fronts: military sales, including continued Indian production of United States hardware and eased restrictions on technology sharing; counterterrorism cooperation; and new understandings on India's strategic interests in Afghanistan and a frank assessment of Pakistan's destabilising role and links to terror.

"PM @narendramodi visit takes #IndiaPortugal bilateral relations to new heights", Baglay said. The US embassy in New Delhi said it was aware but referred further inquiries to Washington.

The Trump administration official said flatly the drones to India don't represent "a threat" to Pakistan, implying that not everything in the American calculation had to be about Pakistan. He has said his one-day visit to the country will further strengthen relations between India and Portugal. "These kinds of sales that we're talking about are important for the strategic partnership, for cooperating in areas like the Indian Ocean region, increasing that cooperation, serving the interests of both countries", the official said.

This is the first-ever bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Portugal and follows Costa's visit to India in January this year.

"We want to avoid a situation that escalates the tension" between India and Pakistan, the official said. In that, he's likely to find common ground with Trump.

Trump says he is being investigated over Comey firing
The website reported that Trump will sometimes interrupt conversations with associates to say , "I'm not under investigation". Since then Mueller, who served as FBI director before Comey, has taken over the investigation.

Defence is expected to be a major agenda item when Trump hosts Modi at the White House next week.

If Trump and Modi were to ever get around to discussing their social media platforms - Modi and former President Barack Obama had a long discussion about their use of social media during their dinner at the White House in September 2014 - it will be interesting to know what transpired.

The press will not be allowed to ask questions during the joint press appearance of Trump and Modi, the official said, adding that the request had been made from the Indian side. Modi will be urging a tougher stance on Pakistan over militants that India blames for attacks on its territory.

On the economy, India and USA bilateral trade has almost doubled in the past decade, to US$115 billion, but the trade deficit of US$30 billion remains a matter of concern.

Other strains have emerged, with the United States vexed by a growing bilateral trade deficit and Trump accusing New Delhi of negotiating unscrupulously at the Paris climate talks to walk away with billions in aid.

Modi is also not expected to press hard on a US visa program the Trump administration is reviewing to reduce the flow of skilled foreign workers and save jobs for Americans, seeing limited gains from raising a sensitive issue, they said. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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