Trade and migration are dominated the Indian prime minister’s visit to the White House, with differences on the Paris Agreement side-stepped

India PM Narendra Modi gives a press conference with US president Donald Trump at the White House (Pic: twitter/NarendraModi)

India prime minister Narendra Modi and US president Donald Trump were silent on climate change after their meeting at the White House on Monday.

Sidestepping the two leaders’ divergent positions on the Paris climate deal, the state visit focused on trade, migration and military cooperation. Modi and Trump gave every appearance of friendship, sharing several hugs and handshakes during the visit.

That was at odds with the hostile tone Trump struck towards India when he announced plans to pull the US out of the Paris agreement earlier this month.

“India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries,” he said. “This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.”

In response, Modi said India would go “above and beyond” its commitment to the deal, as part of “our duty to protect Mother Earth”. Modi’s environment minister Harsh Vardhan said the country would pursue climate action “irrespective of the stand of anyone, anywhere in the world”.

A comment by Modi placed in the Wall Street Journal ahead of Monday’s summit made no reference to Paris. Renewable energy was mentioned as an area…