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PM talks tough on food security pact, terrorism

Ahead of his meeting with US President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday made it clear that agreements on food security and trade facilitation will have to go hand-in-hand.

“Agreements on food security and trade facilitation will have to go hand-in-hand,” Modi said while addressing the Council on Foreign Relations here.

Rejecting any distinction between good and bad terrorism, Modi called for a collective fight to effectively tackle the global menace. “There is no good terrorist or bad terrorist,” he said. “There is a need to take the challenge of terrorism seriously. It’s sad that many countries could not earlier understand the ugly face of terrorism which is enemy of humanity,” he said. The prime minister, who dwelt at length on the threat posed by terrorism, said it cannot be measured on the scale of political plus and minus. “The world will have to speak in one voice against terrorism,” he stressed.

In his address, Modi reaffirmed that India wants to build friendly relations with all its neighbours. He said that all the SAARC leaders had been invited for his swearing-in ceremony. Referring to the Jammu and Kashmir floods which had left behind a trail of death and devastation, he said there was tremendous loss also in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and he had expressed India’s readiness to extend help to those affected across the border.

Earlier in the day, in a breakfast meeting with the chiefs of various US companies in New York the prime minister urged them to invest heavily in India, across sectors. He met the chief executive officers (CEOs) and chairmen of 11 top American firms. This was followed by individual meetings with the chiefs of General Electric, IBM, BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Kravis Kohlberg Roberts (KKR) and Boeing. The prime minister discussed a host of issues with the chief executives such as manufacturing, infrastructure development and foreign direct investment (FDI). He told them the Indian government believed in a stable tax regime.

The chief executives raised various issues, including the ease of doing business in India, the taxation system and FDI reforms. They also sought clarity on the country’s regulatory environment. One of the major outcomes of the meeting was New York-based investment management firm BlackRock’s decision to hold a global investors’ meeting in India next year.

Later in the day, the prime minister, along with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, met former US president Bill Clinton and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Both sides discussed ways to improve India-US ties.

In the evening, Modi and his entourage left for Washington, where he had a private dinner with US President Barack Obama at the White House. This was the first time the two leaders came face-to-face, since Modi took over as prime minister in May this year.

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