Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump hold bilateral talks at the G-20 meet in Osaka. (Source: PMO/Twitter) 

PM Modi, U.S. President Trump Discuss Iran, Trade, Defence, 5G

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held talks with U.S. President Donald Trump and discussed various bilateral and global issues including Iran, 5G communications networks, trade, and defence, ahead of the G-20 Summit.

Modi thanked Trump for expressing his "love towards India" in a letter recently delivered by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The U.S. reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and six world powers. To reduce Iran's crude oil export to zero, the U.S. on May 2 ended waivers that had allowed the top buyers of Iranian oil, including India, to continue their imports for six months.

India, complying with the U.S. sanctions, has ended all imports of oil from Iran.

Trump congratulated Modi on his election victory and said that the two countries would work together in many areas including military.

"It was a big victory, you deserve it, you have done a great job. We have big things to announce. In terms of trade, in terms of manufacturing, we would be discussing 5G. I congratulate you and I look forward to talks," Trump said.

"We have become great friends and our countries have never been closer. I can say that with surety. We will work together in many ways including military, we'll be discussing trade today," he added.

On Iran, Trump said, "We have a lot of time. There's no rush, they can take their time. There is absolutely no time pressure."

"PM @narendramodi and @POTUS held talks on the sidelines of the #G20 Summit in Osaka. Both leaders discussed various bilateral and global issues," the Prime Minister's Office said in a tweet.

The two leaders met shortly after the Japan-America-India trilateral meeting during which Modi highlighted "the importance India attaches to" the grouping.

Also read: Xi Condemns ‘Bullying’ Ahead of Meeting With Trump: G-20 Update

The Modi-Trump meeting assumes significance as the U.S. president, championing his 'America First' policy, has been a vocal critic of India for levying "tremendously high" duties on U.S. products.

Before his arrival in Japan on Thursday, Trump tweeted, "I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further. This is unacceptable and the Tariffs must be withdrawn!"

This was Modi's first meeting with Trump after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s landslide win in the parliamentary election.

India has raised tariffs on 28 items, including almond, pulses and walnut, exported from the U.S. in retaliation to America's withdrawal of preferential access for Indian products.

The Trump administration wants PM Modi to lower the trade barriers and embrace "fair and reciprocal" trade.

Also read: Trump Asks India to Reverse ‘Unacceptable’ Tariffs on U.S. Goods

Trump has also criticised India's high import tariff on the iconic Harley Davidson motorcycles as "unacceptable" though acknowledging that his "good friend" PM Modi has reduced it from 100 percent to 50 percent.

Last February, India slashed the customs duty on imported motorcycles like Harley-Davidson to 50 percent after Trump called it "unfair" and threatened to increase the tariff on import of Indian bikes to the U.S.

The government on June 21 last year decided to impose these duties in retaliation to the U.S. decision of significantly hiking customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products.

America, in March last year, imposed 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent import duty on aluminium products.

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.