Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Donald Trump held a “very productive and open discussion” on a range of issues including trade, tensions with Iran, and 5G technology, but did not touch upon the S-400 missile deal in their bilateral meeting, India’s ministry of external affairs said in a statement.
“It was a very productive and open discussion. We will take things forward. There was very little discussion on defence issues. S-400 issue was not discussed. We highlighted the potential of cooperation in this area which was welcomed by President Trump,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said at a press conference in Osaka on the sidelines of the 14th G20 Summit.
This comes days after US Secretary of State Micheal Pompeo had said the two countries should be able to provide security for themselves.
It also comes at a time when the US has put forth suggestions for India to look for alternatives to the S-400 missile system, as transactions with Russia risk triggering CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act).
At the press briefing, Gokhale said Modi and Trump agreed that they would meet at an early date to try and sort out issues pertaining to trade between the two countries.
“It was agreed that trade ministers of both countries would meet on an early date and would try to sort out these issues. Both US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and their Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were in the room. Now, we expect an early meeting,” he said.
“The Prime Minister did mention in particular that we have taken some action after the GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) was revoked. That was something which already happened and now we should look forward and see how we can resolve these issues. President Trump welcomed this idea,” Gokhale added.
With regards to tensions brewing between the US and Iran, the foreign secretary said the primary focus was on ensuring stability in the region, not just in the backdrop of energy needs, but also to ensure the safety of the Indian diaspora in the Gulf.