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Trump welcomes Indian Prime Minister Modi to White House

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President Trump shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Monday. Trump vowed to pursue "fair and reciprocal" trade deals with the nation. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House on Monday by promising to work more closely with India to defeat terrorism and hinting that action against North Korea could come quickly.

"Both our nations have been struck by the evils of terrorism, and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them," Trump said during a joint appearance in the Rose Garden with Modi. "We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism."

After thanking India for joining in a round of sanctions against North Korea, Trump issued a warning to Pyongyang.

"The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems, and it's something that has to be dealt with, probably dealt with rapidly," Trump said. His comments came just days after an American student held in North Korean custody for more than a year died in Ohio upon his return to the U.S.

Trump highlighted an upcoming joint exercise with the Indian and Japanese militaries planned for next month, which he described as the "largest maritime exercise ever conducted in the vast Indian Ocean."

India has encountered its own problems with terrorism due to the proximity of Pakistan, where terrorist groups have long posed threats to Indian citizens.

Administration officials have been preparing for Modi's high-profile visit for more than two months, a White House aide said last week. Trump's cocktail reception and dinner with the Indian prime minister on Monday evening will mark the first time he has hosted a foreign leader at the White House for such an event.

"Not many people know it, but both American and the Indian constitutions begin with the same three very beautiful words: 'We the people,'" Trump said.

"I am proud to announce to the media, to the American people and to the Indian people that Prime Minister Modi and I are world leaders in social media," Trump added. "We're believers, giving the citizens of our countries the opportunity to hear directly from their elected officials."

Trump has 32.8 million Twitter followers. Modi has 31 million.

A proponent of bilateral trade agreements, Trump vowed to pursue "fair and reciprocal" trade with India, one of the largest economies in the world.

"I look forward to working with you, Mr. Prime Minister, to create jobs in our countries," Trump said.

The two leaders are expected to address the controversial H-1B visa program. Under the H-1B program, major corporations bring skilled foreign workers — many of them Indian — to the U.S. to work. Proponents of the program say H-1B visas help fill positions requiring technical skills, but critics say the program displaces American workers for cheaper foreign labor.

The Trump administration is currently reviewing the H-1B program. Before he became attorney general, then- Sen. Jeff Sessions was a leading critic of H-1B visas in Congress.

Modi and Trump are also expected to discuss climate-related issues during their meetings this week, although Trump did not mention them during his statement on Monday.

When announcing his intention to remove the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement earlier this month, Trump singled out India as one of several countries that received excessively favorable terms under the deal. He noted India's coal production would be allowed to flourish under the climate accords while the Obama administration had committed America to energy production cuts.

After Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accords, Modi publicly defended the Paris deal and stressed the need for countries to act collectively against climate change.