On national security matters, the governor said he and the prime minister discussed Indians’ desire “to grow their own defense system.”
Abbott noted that Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth plant, which makes F-16 fighter jets, “is in the running to provide” expertise as India tries to build up its aerospace and munitions industries.
Then the discussion turned to looming threats, such as terrorism and new forms of computer hacking, Abbott said.
“Future defense needs to be concerned with issues far more than just nuclear weapons,” he said. “Countries are going to have capabilities to destroy other societies without ever having to marshal a soldier or a nuclear weapon. It can be done through weapons of mass destruction such as artificial intelligence [and] cybersecurity.”
Abbott said he and Modi agreed that democracies will need to collaborate in new, less conventional forms of defense.
The governor and prime minister discussed immigration and President Donald Trump’s talk of clamping down on alleged misuse of H-1B visas, which U.S. tech companies use to bring in engineers and scientists — many from India. Abbott said he explained the visa flap is part of a much larger U.S. debate over immigration.
On energy and technology, Modi and Abbott discussed their pleasure that there is strong and growing collaboration between India and Texas.
One of Modi’s big preoccupations currently is health care, Abbott noted.
Modi’s coalition government is working on a national health insurance program “roughly similar” to Medicaid, the U.S., state-federal program for the poor, disabled and elderly, Abbott said. “He asked if we could share our expertise on it,” Abbott recounted. “I told him we’d be happy to.”
On health care and other domestic and foreign policy topics, Abbott said he took pains “to make clear that I’m speaking as the governor of the state of Texas and not speaking on behalf of the United States.”
On Texas’ cultural ties to India, Abbott said he and Modi touched on one of the governor’s outreach moves to Texas’ growing population of Indian Americans.
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