Donald Trump on CAA, trade deal and Kashmir: Highlights of US Presidents press conference

Kusum Tewari

NEW DELHI: US President
Donald Trump on Tuesday interacted with the media and responded to questions ranging from citizenship law to
Kashmir and
trade deal. Addressing a press conference, Trump described PM Modi as a “terrific” leader and India as a “tremendous country”.

Here are his reactions on different issues:

On religious freedom
The US President said he discussed the issue of religious freedom with PM
Narendra Modi during his comprehensive talks and that the Indian leader wants people to have this freedom. “We did talk about religious freedom. And I will say the Prime Minister was incredible on what he told me. He wants people to have religious freedom, and very strongly said that in India they have worked very hard to have great and open religious freedom,” said Trump.

“PM Modi said they work very closely with Muslims,”
Trump said when asked if he raised the allegations of discrimination against Muslims in India.

Citizenship law
Talking to reporters in Delhi, Trump said: “I didn’t discuss the
CAA with PM Modi, it is up to India. Don’t want to say anything on CAA, I hope India will take the right decision for its people. I want to leave that to India and hopefully they will make the right decision for their people.”

Trade deal
Trump once again complained of the “large amount of tariffs” imposed by India on his country’s products — an issue which has been a factor of trade tensions between New Delhi and Washington.

“India is probably the highest tariff nation. I think you have to pay the highest tariff when you deal with India. Harley-Davidson has to pay tremendous tariffs when they send motorcycles here and when India sends to us, there is virtually no tariff. That’s unfair and we are working it out,” he said.

“I spoke to PM Modi on it. I think India would like to see it happen. We are pretty close. Everybody is happy about it,” he said.

Trump once again offered to mediate on Kashmir between India and
Pakistan, saying Kashmir has been “thorn in lot of people’s sides” for long time and there are two sides to every story. He described Kashmir as a “big problem” between India and Pakistan.

“If anything I can do to mediate, I will do. Kashmir obviously is a big problem, but India and Pakistan are going to work it out. They have been doing it for a long time,” he added.

On being asked about terrorism in Pakistan, the US President said, “We talked a lot about it today. I said I will do whatever I can do to help as my relationship with both gentlemen (PM Modi and Pakistan PM) is so good… Anything I can do to mediate/help, I’d do. They (Pakistan) are working on Kashmir. He added, “They (Pakistan) are working to control cross-border terrorism.”

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