The Indian connection of Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa is a boon for India, which is expected to be reflected in the meeting between Costa and Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this evening in Lisbon.
Modi's visit to the U.S. the first under the Trump Administration - offers an opportunity for relationship- building, the official said.
Modi's two-day visit to Washington begins on Sunday. "Ahead of his meeting at the White House, we're urging Prime Minister Modi not to cave into any pressure from U.S., and adopt pharma-backed policies that have caused medicine prices to skyrocket, leaving patients empty-handed and payers struggling to afford the expensive patented medicines", said Leena Menghaney, south Asia head for MSF's Access Campaign.
Modi will also call on King Willem-Alexander and meet Queen Maxima. "So, we're looking for ways to cooperate on our mutual interests", a senior administration official said while adding USA encourages India and Pakistan to engage in a direct bilateral dialogue aimed at reducing tensions. The only high level bilateral meetings between India and the US has been the visits of NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, and the US NSA HR McMaster's visit to New Delhi where he met top officials and PM Modi. With Pakistan too, we seek to work together but frankly the priorities are very different.
"Ultimately, that's the ultimate goal", the White House official said.
According to the copy of the letter provided to PTI, the lawmakers said that in recent years the USA and India have sought to strengthen economic engagement through the bilateral Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the Trade Policy Forum (TPF).
Defence deals are one area where the two countries could make progress because of bipartisan support, an Indian official involved in the preparations for the visit said.
"But we very much encourage India and Pakistan to engage in a direct bilateral dialogue aimed at reducing those tensions", the official said. The prime minister will also attend a reception thrown by the Indian community in Washington, DC.
A small Hindu group marked the occasion of Trump's 71st birthday last week by feeding a giant poster of the president slices of cake in the heart of New Delhi. "Our conversations have touched upon our common intent to take forward our productive all-round engagement for the mutual benefit of our people", he said. "I look forward to this opportunity to have an in-depth exchange of views on further consolidating the robust and wide-ranging partnership between India and the United States", PM Modi added.
The United States is India's second-largest defense supplier, and a US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) deal for the United States to sell 22 unarmed drones to India to protect its vast coastline appears set for approval by the Trump administration.