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USA approves sale of drones to India

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Narendra modi Portugal

Lisbon is hosting the Web Summit - a key annual worldwide technology conference - for 3 years from 2016 onwards and in the last Web Summit, more than 700 participants from India participated and the number is expected to go up further this year.

Trump will host Modi at the White House tomorrow and the two leaders would spend about five hours together in various settings beginning with their bilateral discussion, delegation level talks, a reception and a working dinner, the first of its kind hosted by this administration. Barely had Prime Minister Modi taken off from Lisbon for D.C. that the US President tweeted a welcome note from the official handle.

Modi also recited a poem written by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the completion of one year of Emergency wherein he longed for the end of restrictions and return to freedom. "My USA visit is aimed at deepening ties between our nations". Faced with Chinese naval build-up near India's western coast, the country hopes to procure USA -made unarmed surveillance drones to keep an eye on the coastline.

Modi's two-day visit to Washington, which starts Sunday, takes place amid uncertainty over the relationship because of differences on trade and other issues. I suspect we will see a lot of the big troublesome issues swept to the side because that could lead to a backlash from Trump.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had said President Trump and Prime Minister Modi would have a very robust discussion when they meet at the White House. The H-1B visa programme is unlikely to be discussed, although climate change would be.

As of Saturday morning, Trump had 32.7 million Twitter followers, with Modi clocking in at 31 million. "Indian films are being subtitled in Portuguese and a Hindi-Portuguese dictionary is being developed for our mutual benefit", Modi said. "We have always done that and no one in the world can stop us", Modi said while interacting with the Indian diaspora in Virginia.

India has been looking to buy 22 of the unarmed surveillance aircraft, MQ-9B Guardian, worth more than $2 billion to keep watch over the Indian Ocean. "The US and India are both committed to combating all forms of terrorism and strengthening their cooperation in areas such as terrorism screening, intelligence and information sharing, terrorist use of the internet, and terrorist designation", the White House official said. It will develop a Go-To-Market Guide to support start-ups.

Yet Trump has been unpredictable with New Delhi so far. I mean, we're only six months into the administration.

"The meeting between the two leaders is very significant, obviously, because the new administration's policies towards Asia and particularly India, are not very clear", said Sujit Datta, foreign policy specialist at New Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia University.

"He should emphasize that India is slowly getting into renewable energies and technology transfer is important", added the expert.

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