US President Donald Trump affirmed faith in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ability to handle terrorism emanating from Pakistan and said an India-US trade deal would be concluded soon.
Talking to the media ahead of his meeting with the Indian premier on the margins of the UN General Assembly, Trump said it was not for him to give any message to Pakistan on cross-border terrorism as a “pretty loud message” had already been sent by Modi – a reference to the Prime Minister’s thinly veiled attack on Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism at the “Howdy, Modi!” event at Houston on Sunday.
Trump effusively praised Modi, even calling him the “father of India” for his efforts to bring the country together and comparing him to rock star Elvis Presley for his ability to rouse the audience at the community outreach event in Houston.
Modi, who was seated next to Trump, praised Trump for his support to India. “I am thankful to Trump that he came to Houston. He is my friend but he is also a good friend of India,” the PM said at the meeting, referring to the event in Texas on Sunday when the two leaders spoke in front of a strong crowd consisting mostly of Indian-American people.
“In the four months since our government came back, I have had the chance of meeting President Trump thrice and we have held detailed and fruitful discussions on different issues. The continuous engagement and closeness between the largest and oldest democracies is a great sign for a world that believes in democratic values,” the Prime Minister said.
Just as he had done during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday, Trump sidestepped questions on Islamabad’s role in sponsoring and supporting terrorism against New Delhi and said Iran should be “at the top of the list” of terrorist states.
Trump made no new offer to mediate on the Kashmir issue, as he had done during his meeting with Khan, and instead said he believed the prime ministers of India and Pakistan could “get together and work something [out]”.