Donald Trump casts doubt on US-India trade deal | News | DW | 25.02.2020
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Donald Trump casts doubt on US-India trade deal

US President Donald Trump announced that India would buy $3 billion worth of military equipment. He later said a trade deal was possible before the end of the year but criticized "high" tariffs.

Watch video 01:03

Modi and Trump praise Indian-American relations

US President Donald Trump concluded a two-day visit to India on Tuesday following talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his visit had been productive with the conclusion of military deals.

India will buy $3 billion (€2.76 billion) worth of military equipment from the US, including 24 SeaHawk helicopters from Lockheed Martin and six more Apache helicopters. The purchase is part of an effort from the Indian government to modernize the country's military.

However, Trump later cast doubt on a more widespread trade deal, and criticized Indian "high" trade tariffs. He said he held out hopes of a deal being concluded by the end of the year.

"If the deal happens with India it will be at the end of this year and if it doesn't happen then we will do something else," he told reporters as the visit ended.

Watch video 03:05

US President Donald Trump's first official India trip

Trump: Indian trade tariffs 'probably the world's highest'

Washington is currently pursuing a trade deal with India. The US delegation will hope to iron out differences over farm goods, medical devices, digital trade and proposed new tariffs.

Trade relations between both countries have been icy, after the Trump administration imposed tariffs on Indian steel and aluminum exports and Modi’s government retaliated with its own tariffs on US goods.

"Our teams have made tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement and I’m optimistic we can reach a deal that will be of great importance to both countries," said Trump in Delhi.

He also criticized Indian trade tariffs, calling the country "probably the highest tariff nation in the world."

Lavish ceremony

At the beginning of his second and final day in India, US President Donald Trump took part in a lavish celebration in his honor in New Delhi on Tuesday, as part of a two-day state visit to India.

Hundreds of military officials, marching with swords and other weapons, took part in the event at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace. Trump was welcomed with cannon fire, which was followed by an official greeting by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The ceremony kicked off a busy day for Trump in the Indian capital, meeting business leaders and embassy officials, as well as visit the memorial to independence leader Mohandas Gandhi.

Read more: Donald Trump visits India amid burgeoning defense ties, trade tensions

Trump's two-day trip to India has received wide coverage, where over 50% see the US President favorably, according to a Pew Research poll.

In his speech on Monday in the western state of Gujarat, where more than 100,000 people were gathered, Trump praised India's rise as a stable and prosperous democracy as one of the achievements of the century.

"You have done it as a tolerant country. And you have done it as a great, free country," the US president said.

"India is a country that proudly embraces freedom, liberty, individual rights, the rule of law, and the dignity of every human being," he added.

Clashes ahead of Trump's visit

On Monday, opponents and supporters of Modi and his new citizenship law, which provides fast-track naturalization for some foreign-born religious minorities but not Muslims, clashed in Delhi.

At least 13 people were killed and more than 150 were injured in the protests, authorities said.

Tensions remained high on Tuesday in parts of the Indian capital, with schools and at least five metro stations in the city having been closed. Arson, vandalism and the pelting of stones were reported on Tuesday by Delhi police spokesman M Randhawa.

ed,jcg/rg (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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