India’s Modi meets US execs ahead of first encounter with Trump

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (Jun 25) told top American executives that India is a business-friendly country of “minimum government,” as he prepared for a first meeting with President Donald Trump aimed at improving ties and moving past differences over climate change.

The meeting on Sunday at a Washington hotel included the heads of some of the top US technology companies, including Google’s Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Shantanu Narayen from Adobe Systems, all of whom are Indian American. Also present were Apple’s Tim Cook and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Gopal Baglay, an External Affairs Ministry spokesman, sent a tweet from the meeting quoting Modi as saying that thousands of reforms had made India a place of “minimum government, maximum governance,” the Indian Express reported.

The “minimum government” part of the message was expected to resonate with Trump, who has proposed streamlining what he calls business-hampering US regulations and cutting the budgets of several US government agencies.

Some commentators have argued that Modi and Trump should have a natural affinity. Both are political outsiders, unafraid to shake up the status quo, who have risen to power in part by castigating the traditional ruling elite while offering a strongly nationalistic vision.

But while relations between the world’s two largest democracies had warmed under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, as India sought greater foreign investment and trade ties, it was not long after Trump’s election that obstacles emerged on issues such as trade and visas for Indians wanting to work in the United States.