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US-India trade deal possible soon: Indian envoy

Published: May 30, 2020

The United States and India could strike a ‘smaller’ trade deal in the next few weeks, according to Indian ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who recently acknowledged at the virtual West Coast Summit of US-India Strategic Partnership Forum that the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have been a setback in moving ahead as both sides are tackling the health crisis.

India’s supply of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to the United States has given the two countries enough confidence and have played an important foundation, Sandhu said.

“The top leadership has also been talking about it and I feel that perhaps in the coming few weeks, we should be able to strike the smaller trade deal,” he was quoted as saying by a news agency.

“I continue to be very optimistic about the trade deal. I must mention that this current unprecedented challenge has given a bit of a setback in the sense that the focus of all the governments got to tackling the health crisis,” Sandhu said. Trade officials from both sides have been in constant touch over this issue, he said.

The understanding is that immediately after the smaller one, negotiations will start on the bigger trade deal, he said.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talks with Trump on February 25, the former had said that both sides had agreed to start negotiations for a ‘big trade deal’ and hoped that it will yield good results in mutual interest.

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