Besides Trump's family, entourage to include 2 Indian American officials


New York, Feb 22 (IANS): Two senior Indian American officials will be in US President Donald Trump's entourage during his visit to India, besides First Lady Melania Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Two members of Trump's cabinet, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, will be accompanying him, according to a list released by a senior administration official.

The two Indian American officials are Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and Kash Patel, Trump's special assistant and senior director for counterterrorism.

They are a part of the five-member team for participating in bilateral talks.

Trump's daughter and son-in-law have the official title of assistant and senior adviser to the president and participate in negotiations and policy-making.

They and the cabinet officials are members of the official 12-member official delegation that also includes National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who is leading the negotiations on a trade agreement between the two countries, is a notable absentee on the visitors' list given the failure to make a deal in time for the visit.

Brouillette's presence indicates the importance of energy, the fastest-growing area in bilateral trade.

The senior administration official briefing the media, said the visit will "focus on building our economic and energy ties.a

Since 2016, US energy exports to India have grown 500 per cent to nearly $7 billion.

The official said, "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 US crude oil, LNG (liquid natural gas), and coal."

The presence of O'Brian and Patel shows the importance given to counter-terrorism cooperation by both countries.

The other members of the official delegation are:

Ken Juster, US Ambassador to India

Mick Mulvaney, Acting Chief of Staff

Stephen Miller, Assistant and Senior Policy Adviser who specialises in immigration issues

Dan Scavino, Senior Advisor for Digital Strategy

Lindsay Reynolds, Chief of Staff to the First Lady,

Robert Blair, Special Representative for International Telecommunication Policy and Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff

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

The other bilateral meeting participants are:

Adam Boehler, Chief Executive Officer of the US International Development Finance Corporation. Lisa Curtis, Deputy Assistant to the President for South and Central Asian Affairs Mike Passey, Director for India, National Security Council.

  

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