Donald Trump says US-India ties have ‘never been stronger’, praises PM Modi
For his part, Narendra Modi hailed the US as his country’s primary partner in its rapid social and economic transformation.Updated: Jun 27, 2017, 04:10 IST
US President Donald Trump said on Monday that ties between Washington and New Delhi had “never been stronger” after holding his first talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (HIGHLIGHTS)
The two leaders sought to develop a warm relationship despite differences over trade, immigration and the Paris climate accord.
Trump, in Oval Office remarks as Modi sat beside him, said Modi “has been such a great prime minister” and noted that he had been reading about India’s economic success under his leadership.
“Economically, India is doing very well,” he said.
Later at a joint briefing, Trump paid tribute to the Indian leader for overseeing growth rates which are faster than any other major economy in the world.
“I am thrilled to salute you, Prime Minister Modi, and the Indian people for all you are accomplishing together.
“Your accomplishments have been vast. India has the fastest-growing economy in the world. We hope we’ll be catching you very soon in terms of percentage increase -- I have to tell you, we’re working on it!”
“The relationship between India and the United States has never been stronger, never been better,” Trump told reporters in the White House Rose Garden as he stood alongside the Indian premier.
Modi, on his fifth visit to the United States since becoming prime minister in May 2014, thanked Trump for a warm welcome.
Later, as he and Modi joined for talks with senior officials, Trump said the two leaders were making great progress.
“We agreed on most things and I would say by the end of the day we’ll agree on everything,” Trump said.
Trump administration officials have pointed to both leaders’ impact on social media - each has more than 30 million Twitter followers - as proof that they are cut from the same cloth, and predicted the two would get along well.
“If the chemistry is good, everything else gets sorted,” said an Indian official. “The only way is up. How much up we go depends on the leaders. If they click, we go up higher.”
Modi gave Trump a bear hug during their joint appearance before then showering praise on the US leader.
The two men, who both rose to power after portraying themselves as outsiders battling a complacent elite, appeared to make an immediate connection.
“In our conversation today, President Trump and I have discussed all dimensions of US-India relations,” Modi said at the end of a visit which has seen the announcement of several defence deals.
“We want to take our strategic partnership to new heights.”
Modi said there was no reason for the US and India to be rivals, stressing that both he and Trump shared a joint desire to increase productivity, growth and job creation.
“I’m sure that convergence between my vision for a new India and President Trump’s vision for ‘Making America Great Again’ will add a new dimension to our cooperation,” added Modi in reference to Trump’s signature campaign slogan.