Two accounts of Modi-Trump meet

Two accounts of Modi-Trump meet

Readouts are hardly ever identical, says Indian official on the discrepancies

Emerging from the Modi-Trump bilateral meeting on Tuesday, the Indian and U.S. sides offered summaries of the meetings that were, in some respects, at variance with one another.

At least two differences between the accounts – one on Afghanistan and the other on terror and Kashmir – were substantive.

The Indian account of the meeting, conveyed by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, said that Afghanistan had not been discussed due to a lack of time.

The U.S. administration, however, said the two countries discussed Afghanistan.

Highlights of PM Modi’s visit to the U.S.

“…Both leaders expressed concerns about the situation in Afghanistan and shared ideas about how to work together to promote security and prosperity in the country,” a readout of the meeting from the White House said.

At the post-bilateral External Affairs Ministry briefing, Mr. Gokhale said the session was split equally between a discussion on terrorism and trade, saying there was “a long discussion on terrorism” in which Mr. Modi had explained “in some detail” the challenges India had faced from terrorism, especially in Jammu & Kashmir, over the past 30 years.

However, there was no mention of terrorism in the White House’s readout.

“Additionally, the President encouraged Prime Minister Modi to improve relations with Pakistan and fulfill his promise to better the lives of the Kashmiri people,” the reference to Kashmir from the White House’s readout said.

“Readouts are hardly ever identical,” an External Affairs Ministry official told The Hindu.

India and the U.S. were also hoping to conclude and announce a limited trade package (as opposed to a comprehensive agreement) on Tuesday. However gaps in several sectors, especially ICT products, could not be bridged.

“The President reaffirmed the importance of greatly increasing trade between the United States and India, and highlighted the need for resolving barriers to free, fair, and reciprocal trade, which includes improving United States companies’ market access in India. The President noted good progress on defense and security cooperation,” the readout said.

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