White House Briefing on Upcoming President and First Lady Trip to India…

The White House has provided a great deal of background information on the upcoming trip to India by President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

WHITE HOUSE – SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks to everyone for joining this call. The topic of the call: This is a background briefing with senior administration officials on President Donald J. Trump’s travel to India.

The briefing is embargoed until 2:30 p.m. and it’s offered on background attributed to a “senior administration official.”

Now, for your information only, we have two senior administration officials with us today. We have [senior administration officials].

Now, please, again, this is on background, attributed to a “senior administration official,” so that will be your information only.

So, at this point, I will turn it over to [senior administration official], who will begin our briefing.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Hello, and thank you for being here. First, I’ll run through the official delegation for the trip to India. With the President and the First Lady, there will be a 12-person official delegation. That will include:

* Ambassador Ken Juster, the United States Ambassador to of India
* Secretary Wilbur Ross, of Commerce Department
* Secretary Dan Brouillette, of the Energy Department
* Mick Mulvaney, Assistant to the President and Acting Chief of Staff
* National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien
* Ivanka Trump, Assistant to the President and Advisor to the President
* Jared Kushner, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the President
* Stephen Miller, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor for Policy
* Dan Scavino, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor for Digital Strategy
* Lindsay Reynolds, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady
* Robert Blair, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Telecommunication Policy and Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff

And the final member of the official delegation is:

* Stephanie Grisham, Assistant to the President and Press Secretary and Director of Communications for the President and First Lady

And additional bilateral meeting participants include:

* Adam Boehler, Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
* Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC
* Lisa Curtis, Deputy Assistant to the President for South and Central Asian Affairs
* Mr. Kash Patel, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism
* And finally, Mr. Mike Passey, Director for India, National Security Council

I’ll quickly run through the schedule, give an overview.

The President will arrive in India, in Ahmedabad, in the state of Gujarat, on Monday, where he’ll deliver remarks at Sardar Patel Stadium with Prime Minister Modi.

The President and the First Lady will then go with Prime Minister Modi to visit the Taj, in Agra.

They will then fly to New Delhi and rest overnight in New Delhi, and have a full program on Tuesday. This will include ceremonial events, bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister, a business event with Indian investors, with a special focus on companies that are investing in manufacturing in the U.S.

He’ll have a meet-and-greet with embassy staff and a meeting with the President of India. And to cap it off, there will be a state dinner at the presidential palace, called Rashtrapati Bhavan, on Tuesday evening.

And I’ll give just a few overview remarks before we go into the Q&A about what the President hopes to accomplish in this visit.

The President is going to India as a demonstration of the strong and enduring ties between our two countries. These are ties based on shared democratic traditions, common strategic interests, and enduring bonds between our people. And, in part, this has been exemplified by the very close relationship between the President and Prime Minister Modi.

So the visit will focus on several key areas. First, we’ll focus on building our economic and energy ties. Just to note that two-way trade in goods and services exceeded $142 billion in 2018, and there’s certainly much more room to grow, particularly in energy.

The Strategic Energy Partnership that was launched by President Trump and Prime Minister Modi in 2017 has paid major dividends. It’s improved energy security. It’s encouraged the production of more energy. And it’s facilitated Indian imports of U.S. crude oil, LNG, and coal.

And, certainly, India is the fifth-largest economy in the world, has huge energy needs. And the U.S. is ready to help India meet those needs. Indeed, in 2016, U.S. energy exports to India have grown 500 percent to nearly $7 billion.

Second, we will focus on defense and security cooperation to both fight terrorism and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. wants an India that is strong, with a capable military that supports peace, stability, and a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.

Indeed, India is a pillar of our Indo-Pacific strategy, and we continue to work together to promote this vision of a free and open international system based on market economics, good governance, freedom of the seas and skies, and respect for sovereignty.

And our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific really goes to the heart of what binds our two countries together, and this is our shared democratic systems that place a premium on citizen-centric governments. In fact, India has a strong foundation of democracy, going back to the early days, right after independence. India is a country rich in religious, linguistic, and cultural diversity. In fact, it’s the birthplace of four major world religions.

Prime Minister Modi, in his first speech after winning the election last year, talked about how he would prioritize being inclusive of India’s religious minorities. And, certainly, the world looks to India to maintain religious liberty and equal treatment for all under the rule of law.

So, to sum up, this visit will build upon our many shared values, our strategic and economic interests, and lock in those gains made in the relationship by the administration over the last three years.

And that concludes my opening remarks. Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So, Operator, I think we’re ready now to take a few questions.

Q Hi, it’s Andrew Feinberg with Breakfast Media. Thanks for doing this call. Given your remarks just now about your commitment to ensuring religious freedom in India, is the President planning on saying anything to Prime Minister Modi about his government’s attempt to keep Muslim migrants from being able to gain Indian citizenship, or the National Registry of Citizens, which is, some reports are saying, excluding Muslim — people of Muslim descent who have lived in India for many years from retaining their citizenship?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you. I think President Trump will talk about our shared tradition of democracy and religious freedom both in his public remarks and then certainly in private. He will raise these issues, particularly the religious freedom issue, which is extremely important to this administration.

As I talked about, we do have this shared commitment to upholding our universal values, the rule of law. We have great respect for India’s democratic traditions and institutions, and we will continue to encourage India to uphold those traditions.

And we are concerned with some of the issues that you have raised. And I think that the President will talk about these issues in his meetings with Prime Minister Modi and note that the world is looking to India to continue to uphold its democratic traditions, respect for religious minorities. Of course, it’s in the Indian constitution — religious freedom, respect for religious minorities, and equal treatment of all religions in India.

So this is something that is important to the President and I’m sure it will come up.

Q Hi, this is Kathleen Stubbs with the Asahi Shimbun. Thank you for doing this call. My question is: What will be the nature and structure of the press conferences? When might they be scheduled for?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The details will be worked out on the site there. We can’t provide the specific details of the logistics at this time.

Q Hi, this is Mara Lee from International Trade Today. I wanted to see if you all had any thoughts on the likelihood that India’s participation in the Generalized System of Preferences could be restored. I take it there’s not going to be an announcement during this trip, but might there be enough progress to get that done later in 2020?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The concerns that led to the revocation, suspension of India’s GSP access remains a concern for us. And to remind those on the call it was really the failure of the Indian government to provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors.

We continue to talk to our Indian colleagues about addressing these market access barriers. Our trade teams led by USTR have been in touch with their counterparts over the past several weeks. That engagement will continue.

The trade and economic relationship with India is critically important to the United States, and I think also access to the United States market is critical to the Indian government. We do want to make sure that we get this balance right. We want to address a bunch — a lot of concerns, and we’re not quite there yet.

We will likely have discussion with the Prime Minister about these concerns and continue the discussion beyond this visit.

Q Hi, there. This is Jill Colvin from the Associated Press. I just wanted to be clear: So, do you expect any progress whatsoever on the trade front? Are there specific discussions that are planned? The President had sort of alluded that there could be potentially some progress made.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, we have had a number of announcements coming from India in the past several weeks, which are making the discussions a bit more difficult perhaps. Recent announcements on Make in India have made the protectionism concerns in India even greater. So we will be discussing those concerns. And what we see as an increase in barriers, not a decrease, this will certainly come up among the leaders.

Whether or not there will be announcement on a trade package is, really, wholly dependent upon what the Indians are prepared to do. That said, we have a number of significant commercial deals, which are of great significance that we’re very pleased to announce in a number of key sectors.

Q Yes. Hi, this is Adam Behsudi with Politico. Can you say with any more detail on where the sticking points were on some of the trade issues in terms of not being able to come together? Or was it really down to the actions that India has taken in the last couple months and weeks on trade?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think many of the concerns about private sector are well documented. Certainly throughout the GSP process, you had a number of key market access issues raised by stakeholder communities in the United States.
But the Make in India push of the Indian government, as I noted, has made the protectionism concerns even more of a concern to us. We’ve seen India’s budget process recently used to raise tariffs on products of interest in the United States. We continue to see important divergences on e-commerce and digital trade. So it’s a pretty wide scope, frankly, of important service and goods access barriers that we need to address.

Q Hi, this is (inaudible) from The Hindu. I guess my question is to [senior administration official]. Thank you for your comment. I was wondering, should we expect President Trump to offer to mediate on Kashmir again? And will there be any discussion on Afghanistan? There are reports about Indian troops in Afghanistan. Should we expect some sort of request from the U.S. side on that?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think what you’ll hear from the President is very much encouraging a reduction in tensions between India and Pakistan, encouraging the two countries to engage in bilateral dialogue with each other to resolve their differences.

We continue to believe a core foundation of any successful dialogue between the two is based on continued momentum in Pakistan’s efforts to crack down on terrorists and extremists on its territory. So we continue to look for that.

But I think the President will urge both countries to seek to maintain peace and stability along the line of control and refrain from actions or statements that could increase tensions in the region.

And with regard to the second part of your question, I think was that on the — what was the second part of your question?

Q The question was on Afghanistan. Will there be an ask for India on that? Will President Trump ask for Indian troops? There are reports about this.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Right now, the U.S. is focused on the peace process in Afghanistan. You saw there was a major announcement by Secretary Pompeo where we have finalized an understanding with the Taliban to reduce violence in Afghanistan. So we see this as a major step forward, and we’re focused on that.

With regard to India, we would just encourage India, as we are all regional countries, to do whatever it can to support this peace process so that it can be successful and we can potentially end 19 years of military, [DEL: diplomatic, economic :DEL] engagement. You know, that we can end the military engagement. We will be continuing our diplomatic and economic engagement, which has been there over the last 19 years.

But we certainly would look to India to support this peace process — an important country in the region, important to the overall stability of the region. So I think if the issue comes up, that is what would be the request from the President.

Q Hi, this is Alex Lawson from Law360. There was some talk yesterday in the private sector about the potential for some kind of MOU, a memorandum specifically on intellectual property. I know there’s been a number of sort of sticking points in the U.S. business community about pharmaceutical patents in India and some other things.

Do you have any details on what might come on that front during the trip?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don’t have any specific details on that particular MOU. We’ll be looking at a few handful of agreements on the defense, (inaudible), energy front, but I don’t have any specific details on the MOU that you mentioned.

OPERATOR: We have no other questions at this time.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Great. Well, thank you everyone again for joining us. And again, the backgrounder is from senior administration officials on background. And you’re now — we’ll lift the embargo at this point, and you are free to go ahead.

So thank you very much for your time and help. Bye-bye.

END 2:21 P.M. EST

This entry was posted in Big Government, Donald Trump, FLOTUS, India, Melania Trump, President Trump, State Visit 2020, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to White House Briefing on Upcoming President and First Lady Trip to India…

  1. Let us not leave our pill production to the India. I live outside a nice little town with available empty production space available and an eager human resource. How about it drug co’s?!
    Get in touch and I will hook you up!

    Liked by 8 people

    • decisiontime16 says:

      Last Updated: December, 2019

      India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally. Indian pharmaceutical sector industry supplies over 50 per cent of global demand for various vaccines, 40 per cent of generic demand in the US and 25 per cent of all medicine in UK.

      India enjoys an important position in the global pharmaceuticals sector.

      The country also has a large pool of scientists and engineers who have the potential to steer the industry ahead to an even higher level.

      Presently over 80 per cent of the antiretroviral drugs used globally to combat AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) are supplied by Indian pharmaceutical firms.

      https://www.ibef.org/industry/pharmaceutical-india.aspx

      Liked by 1 person

    • CaptainNonno says:

      New Jersey, North Carolina and Michigan had some of the largest manufacturers of the industry. I’m sure they’re plants could be upgraded and ready quickly

      Liked by 4 people

    • CaptainNonno says:

      New Jersey, North Carolina and Michigan had some of the largest manufacturers of the industry. I’m sure they’re plants could be upgraded and ready quickly

      Liked by 1 person

    • MVW says:

      It is absurd to suggest that the US cannot be competitive in making any drug, generic or otherwise. If we have reasonable environmental regulations and other countries are not protecting their countries for the purpose of a slight price advantage, then tariff’s need to be considered.

      If taxes are the issue, then those need to be addressed. No doubt our POTUS is going to address such issues.

      Liked by 3 people

      • dilonsfo says:

        “If we have reasonable environmental regulations…” That is the key. Many places where Pharma output was made faced increasing complaints from locals and then statewide politicians about fouling the environment and making areas unlivable. When factories left then complaints reversed, claiming abandonment.

        Your point of realistic environmental regulations is so important. With todays technology it is entirely possible to have the best of both worlds. The kink in the hose is that companies find it easier to go to third world countries with distinctive class structures. In those places you can get the highly educated from universities and ignore the dangers that many companies disregard in the every day lives of the lower class.

        Wish I had the answers but it seems to me when a company can manufacture in a country across the world, package and ship their products and still come in at less costs; something is very wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul B. says:

    I hope he can talk to Modi about the treatment of Christians and other minorities in India. I understand it’s bad and getting worse.

    Liked by 8 people

    • vikingmom says:

      Yes – it’s a serious issue throughout Muslim cultures and if they continue to grow in India, they will surpass Hindus and once they “take over” it becomes very dangerous for religious minorities.

      But honestly, the increase in H1B Visas is a bigger area of concern for me. I would like to see a way that India could employ MORE of their own citizens rather than sending so many here and taking jobs away from people born and raised here!!

      Liked by 8 people

      • VVV VVV says:

        India doesn’t “send” them here. Greedy US corporations import them via The H1B scam and pay them a fraction of what US employees would get. And of course many republicans in Congress support the practice.

        Liked by 1 person

        • vikingmom says:

          Absolutely – but if the benefits of staying in India were greater than the benefits of coming here, it could change everything!! I would like to see US companies losing the tax advantages of the “Guest worker” program AND I think that combining that with helping companies in India to modernize and offer good jobs there would a win-win for both!! (And I don’t care if it’s a “lose-lose” for the Chamber of Commerce and the Democratic party!!)

          Like

      • dilonsfo says:

        Here is a major problem. The universities in America are graduating some of the most ignorant, lazy and ill educated people in the history of this country. This encourages the crap they are teaching kids in high school and now in junior high and elementary, When you teach students that a penis in not necessary a penis, that a vagina is not necessarily a vagina, then in the near future 2 plus 2 is not necessarily four will be the masters and doctoral thesis subjects of what these universities will call the golden age of thinking in American education.

        I was helping out with hiring in a newly built warehouse in my area. The pay started at 20 dollars an hour, full benefits. The job was labor intensive and required people that were willing to work in a warehouse. There were no minimum education requirements. Citizenship verification was required or green card with work permit and social security number. There were also no natural born citizens applying for the jobs. Those natural born citizens were standing on sidewalk protesting the destruction of the habitat for the Delhi sand fly. It was an eye opener for me, In many cases is it not the desire to put natural born Americans out of work…it is the case that the people do not want to work. They don’t want to own homes, cars, or investments. They take low paying part time jobs, find plenty of roommates to chip in for rent and spend there time complaining. As President Trump has said there are lots of jobs out there if you want them and are willing to actually work.

        Liked by 1 person

        • VAIT says:

          This is completely not TRUE! A large portion of those H1B applicants are Quality Assurance, basically performing testing of a web site, which many high school students are well qualified to do. In addition, Indian managers tends to hire only Indian workers regardless of the qualification of the job candidates, and push out highly qualified US citizens.Losing these high tech jobs will have even bigger impact than losing the manufacturing jobs over the past several decades. Some loyal Trump supporters have turned their backs to the president because nothing has been done to stop the globalist passing of the S386 Bill (https://www.am22tech.com/fairness-for-high-skilled-workers-act/) introduced by Mike Lee.

          Like

        • vikingmom says:

          Spot on! We have a friend who has a company installing/repairing Re-Bar in commercial construction. He starts people out at $45/hr and he can’t find enough people to keep with all the jobs he has!

          Like

    • bertdilbert says:

      With the millions coming out to greet Trump, you would think he was the Pope….

      The Pope of trade deals.

      Liked by 1 person

    • spoogels says:

      Are we sure that its the Hindus attacking Christians?
      History tells us it Muslims everywhere who attack Christians
      Hindus seem a pretty tolerant bunch to me, but I may be wrong

      Liked by 2 people

      • fern721 says:

        I saw a report that Muslims were responsible for at least one attack on Christians. Something about them being more vulnerable than other groups.

        Like

      • Paul B. says:

        By and large it’s the Hindus in India. It goes against the Western understanding of peaceful Hinduism and Buddhism, but in India many of the Hindus are staunch nationalists and religionists.

        Liked by 1 person

        • dilonsfo says:

          I did a criminal investigation into one of the Hindu sects for murder. The guru had an enemy he wanted eliminated. Those thad did the murder were arrested. The guru was arrested for ordering the murder. The defense team for the guru argued he had not ordered the murder he merely suggested that the enemy be given a “new body.” On of those who actually committed the murder told me that after he shot the victim several times, all of the old incarnations began coming out of the victims lifeless body. He was able to name for me several of the previous incarnations he observed leave the body. Seems the victim had been (just a short list of those incarnations) a grasshopper, a beetle, several poor people, a warrior, a town leader, and finally a guru. He was not sure what the next body of the victim would be.

          Like

  3. parleyvous says:

    #coronovirus… is it safe for Trump to trust India.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. MustangBlues says:

    Thank you for posting this White House Briefing; it may seem dull fluff to some , but is illustrates the detail and breadth of organization and topics that is the substance of the Presidential Trip.

    Very impressive organization of America’s interests in partnering with India.

    Liked by 2 people

    • stakan says:

      Sure, let’s be friendly with India, but that had better not result in ever more worker visas in our zeal for “economic cooperation.” There are always bills in Congress heavily pushed to massively increase these numbers. Must be ever vigilant, holding our RINO, globalist senators accountable to us, not elites.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. zorrorides says:

    In 1947 (?) India separated into two new Nations, called India and Pakistan, West and East, as the only practical and logical solution to the Hindu-Muslim problem. The smaller, eastern Pakistan of course needed later to take up its own nationality. At any rate the only good advice India could receive would be to urge India to pay every Indian Muslim to move to Pakistan.

    Politically accurate is better than politically correct.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. TreeClimber says:

    Please be safe, our beautiful First Family and US delegation!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Rynn69 says:

    Excellent pic SD posted with this article of the President and First Lady. The smiles! So happy.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. SR says:

    India wants H1B visa, green card processing faster and easier offshore of IT jobs. The majority of Indian IT companies are running on body shopping business. They will purchase oil and gas in return of big IT transaction. PTrump wants to pump India as competitor of China and india knows that so cashing out.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Rj says:

    Every year, U.S. companies are allowed to import 66,000 low-skilled H-2B foreign workers to take blue-collar, non-agricultural jobs. For some time, the H-2B visa program has been used by businesses to bring in cheaper, foreign workers and has contributed to blue-collar Americans having their wages undercut.

    “We urge DHS to release the maximum number of additional visas without delay,” the Senators and House members wrote. “These vital American businesses depend on the expeditious release of a sufficient number of additional visas.”

    This coming from 123 house and senate republicans who could care less about Americans who could and should have these jobs. There are Indian workers in this country who are complaining because part of their pay goes to a Indian (Coyote) manger who put them in line and it basically a form of slavery.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Strange to think a small pizza shop in tiny Grand Marias MN has to import works from the Ukraine to serve patrons. They have been doing this for years. Same with some of the hotels in the same who import cleaning staff. They have cheap indentured labor, but their products and services and sure as heck the opposite of cheap.
    It seems to me when business owners put profits ahead of community, everyone looses.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Parrot says:

    The USA is a funny place.
    US BIg Pharma hates us.
    We pay top price by design. Other countries do not.
    The US Govt SEEMS TO THINK THAT’S JUST GREAT.

    When all other options are exhausted for procuring max profits by Big Pharma manufacturing in the 3rd world for sale in the US domestic market……..PDJT will inevitably decide that tariffs are how you ensure strategic Big Pharma manufactures in continental USA.

    Good.

    Like

  12. MY answer to Andrew Feinberg:

    The President looks for to discussion with Prime Minister Modi in regards to India’s policy towards the Cult of Islam. Hopefully the US can successfully adopt similar policies. Next?

    Like

  13. Angus D says:

    India is the most filthy shithole on earth. Pray for him

    Like

  14. mg says:

    In my biased opinion – never has the first lady been as beautiful as Melania Trump. How she handles the b.s. the media and democrats throw at her is amazing. And she sure makes clothes look good!

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Mike in a Truck says:

    Unlike Communist Democrat run California, India will clean up its homeless problem prior to our Presidents visit. Not one untouchable in site.

    Like

  16. MfM says:

    As others have said my immediate concern is for their safety. The Corona19 virus isn’t going away. There is so much we don’t know about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. dutzie60 says:

    I don’t want them to go.

    Like

  18. free.and.true says:

    Sundance, any thoughts as to why Kash Patel is one of the dozen admin officials assigned to this trip?

    Presumably it’s more than just his personal ethnic background.

    Like

  19. Sigh2016 says:

    I was not able to obtain work for over a year because of the huge H1B visa numbers from 2015-2016. I blew through all of my savings, went back into maxed out credit card debt and had to borrow money from my retired parents just to stay afloat. (I had just paid off my 8 year old car and all my cards).
    When I did get a job it was for 40% less than I was making earlier. Me and others like me with great experience and qualifications couldn’t get hired to save our lives. I talked to multiple recruiters every day who couldn’t get people jobs. My old company did something miraculous- they decided to let people take out their pensions early with only the 10% tax penalty—which allowed me to pay back my parents. I still had to dig my way out of the rest of it. Now I have no pension from that job left.
    If PDJT lets this increase happen, he will more than likely lose my vote.

    Like

  20. Can’t wait for the pictures of both esp Melania!

    Like

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