India announced Monday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Washington later this month for his first meeting with President Donald Trump.
The External Affairs Ministry said Modi will meet Trump on June 26 to discuss bilateral relations. Ties between the two countries prospered under former US President Barack Obama, when India was seen as a partner to balance China's growing weight in Asia. But Trump has focused on building ties with China, relying on it as key to tackling problems such as North Korea's nuclear program. For India, other key concerns are Trump's decisions to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord and review the H1B visa program, under which thousands of skilled Indian workers go to the United States. In announcing America's withdrawal from the Paris deal last month, Trump irked India by saying New Delhi had made its participation “contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid.” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India did not sign the Paris accord because of the lure of money and would continue to be part of it, regardless of whether the US participates. Both sides have expected a bilateral nuclear agreement signed during the Obama administration to begin bearing fruit. India is expected to discuss the issue with Washington because China has blocked India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, demanding that India's rival, Pakistan, be treated on the same basis.