'Complicated Tone' Behind Trump, Modi Meeting

'Elephant in the room' between US, India: immigration and H-1B visa program
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2017 8:51 AM CDT
'Complicated Tone' Behind Trump, Modi Meeting
In this June 2, 2017, file photo, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in St. Petersburg, Russia.   (Mikhail Metzel/TASS News Agency Pool Photo via AP)

President Trump meets Indian PM Narendra Modi for the first time on Monday, and the world is watching the two politicians with striking similarities. MSNBC notes the "elephant in the room" is immigration, specifically regarding the H-1B visa program that allows Indian IT experts to make their way to the US and make their mark in the Silicon Valley. Although the two leaders are expected to hit it off over their shared nationalist, pro-business stance (possibly also their affinity for Twitter), Trump has also been pushing his "buy American and hire American" initiative, for which he signed an executive order in April. More:

  • The Washington Post notes the two appear to be "kindred spirits" in many ways, but also wonders whether this get-together will be the start of a "budding romance" or nothing more than a "one-night stand." Trump had predicted before the election he'd become "best friends" with Modi, but so far, various factors on both sides have kept that BFF status at bay.

  • One topic over which the two may bond: fighting terrorism, which Modi addressed un a speech Sunday to members of the Indian diaspora in Virginia. Modi noted India had "proved its power" via "surgical strikes" against Pakistani militant bases in September—which the BBC notes "could be an attempt to strike a chord with the tough-talking Mr. Trump."
  • Indians in America are watching closely, with the New York Times noting the "complicated tone" for Indian communities here. While some are concerned about Trump's anti-immigration remarks, others are optimistic that Trump will ultimately look out for working people and the economy. "Trump is doing the right thing," says an Indian business owner who's lived in the US for more than 30 years. "He's doing good for US citizens and America."
  • Quartz reached out to foreign policy aces, and while they muse that defense, immigration, and trade may pop up, they also acknowledge that this may be more of a "get-to-know-you encounter." A Georgetown University professor adds that with the "unpredictable and narcissistic" Trump in the mix, it's anyone's guess. "I doubt anyone can tell you authoritatively how this rapport will develop," she says.
(Trump appropriated a Modi slogan for his own election campaign.)

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