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[BERLIN] US President Donald Trump ratcheted up a dispute with Germany over trade and defence as Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a demonstration of her ability to pivot from the US to strengthen alternative global alliances.
"We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on Nato & military," the US president posted on Twitter Tuesday.
"This will change."
The message came minutes after Ms Merkel and Mr Modi held a joint press conference in Berlin, at which the German leader called India a "reliable partner with respect to big projects".
That contrasted with her comments in Munich on Sunday that reliable trans-Atlantic ties that formed the basis of German foreign policy since World War II "are to some extent over."
Ms Merkel and Mr Modi stressed their mutual values on the economy and climate change, with the Indian leader suggesting he will adhere to the Paris Agreement to combat global warming even if the US quits. He praised Ms Merkel's experience and Germany's economic example to India.
"We are meant for each other," Mr Modi said.