Invite PM Modi to US in first year of presidency: USIBC to Donald Trump

Washington: A top American business advocacy group has urged President-elect Donald Trump to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a state visit to the US in the first year of his administration.

Congratulating Trump on winning the US presidential elections, the US India Business Council (USIBC) has written a letter to him, urging him to invite Modi.

“Invite Prime Minister Modi for a state visit within your first year in office. This will send a clear signal about the importance of the bilateral relationship,” USIBC president Mukesh Aghi said in a letter to Trump, a day after he was elected as the 45th president of the United States.

The letter describes USIBC’s wish list that the administration should take in the first months of his administration to deepen and expand commerce between the US and India.

Prominent among these include continuing tradition of more and frequent government-to-government interaction between the two countries, negotiating bilateral investment treaty with India and support for India’s admission into the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.

Representing top American companies having a foothold in India, USIBC urged the president-elect to order a comprehensive review of the policies and procedures that weaken US competitiveness in the Indian defence and aerospace market.

“The US export control and licensing processes puts Americans at a competitive disadvantage compared to foreign competitors like the Russians,” it said.

The US has refused to sell to India advanced defence equipment on counter proliferation grounds despite the fact that India can now purchase comparable systems from foreign suppliers due to the proliferation of advanced defenve technologies, the letter said.

According to the letter, the US does not have the monopoly it once did in many defence technologies and its policies need to adapt to this reality.

“From both a commercial and national security perspective, it is better that a country like India purchase advanced defence equipment from America than from its foreign competitors,” it said.

The USIBC has also urged the President-elect to work to eliminate outdated and unfair tax for Indian workers by concluding an executive agreement with India on social security totalisation.

“We encourage you to prioritise this relationship through consistent engagement with India at the highest levels of your administration,” Aghi said in the letter to the President-elect.