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India, Portugal ink 11 pacts to boost ties

In a statement made before the media ahead of Modi’s visit to Washington DC, a senior White House official said that the U.S. is interested in providing India with the kind of Defence technology it normally reserves for its closest allies.But sources tracking the discussions say the US State Department has been concerned about the potential destabilising impact of introducing high-tech drones into South Asia, where tensions are simmering between India and Pakistan.In a statement, Patrick Kilbride, Vice President of International Intellectual Property, Global Intellectual Property Center said from the halls of the Congress to the Trump administration, United States leaders have placed an emphasis on ensuring American innovation is respected overseas.In a joint address to the media after signing 11 bilateral agreements, Modi and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who traces his origin to Goa, said the two countries have made substantial progress since Costa visited India in January.India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves while walking with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, right, during a visit to the Radha Krishna Temple in Lisbon, Portugal, Saturday June 24, 2017. “We very much want to avoid a situation that escalates tensions between the two”, said the White House official.Just hours before Prime minister Narendra Modi lands in Washington, President Donald Trump took to Twitter saying he looked forward to meeting the Indian Prime Minister and discussing “important strategic issues” with a “true friend”. “This will be the first dinner for a foreign dignitary at the White House under this administration”, a senior administration official told reporters on Saturday. “Then they will each give press statements”, the official, said clarifying that it would not be a press conference. “So it’s a long interaction, lots of time for the two leaders to get to know each other, to interact on the critical issues that face our two countries”, the official said. We do talk to all countries, our friends and partners on how to counter cross-border terrorism and worldwide terrorism.Counter-terrorism would be another major area of discussion. We think he is a great leader.Mr Modi will also discuss the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative, launched in 2012 during the Obama presidency, to expand trade in defence material between the two countries. Can this visit take the India-US relationship to the next level? The deal is estimated to be worth $2-3 billion.Observing that the USA is looking for things like stronger intellectual property protections, reductions in tariffs, the official said this visit offers an opportunity to advance that trade dialogue and look for opportunities that will enhance prosperity and create jobs for both countries.The lawmakers, from the Republican and Democratic parties, said in a letter to Trump that high-level engagement with India had failed to eliminate major trade and investment barriers and had not deterred India from imposing new ones.Meanwhile United States Senator Kamala Harris also welcomed Modi in a tweet.