New Delhi: US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi came together for an unprecedented joint public appearance Sunday and vowed to take their relations to new heights.
Trump joined Modi at the mega ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event in Houston, Texas, saying Indian companies are making unprecedented investments in India, and that US companies are doing the same.
“India has never invested in the US before as it is doing today. And it is reciprocal, as we are doing the same in India,” Trump said, lauding Indian firm JSW Steel’s investment in the US in 2018.
Addressing a gathering of 50,000 members of the Indian-American and NRI community and top US politicians at the NRG Stadium, Trump said the relationship between the countries was stronger than ever before.
“The ties are grounded in shared values… We are governed by rule of law. Our two constitutions both begin with the same three beautiful words, ‘We, the people’,” Trump said after Modi welcomed him to the event.
Trump said under Modi’s leadership, “the world is witnessing a thriving Republic of India”. “Prime Minister Modi, I look forward to working with you to make our countries even more prosperous,” he said.
Praising Indian-Americans, Trump said they are doing innovative work in the field of medicine, technology and many others.
Trump also said that the US and India are now going to forge stronger defence ties than ever before.
“Looking forward to conclude a lot of new defence deals. We are working closely with India on that,” he said.
US-India defence trade has reached $18 billion and a number of deals are still being negotiated. Both sides are expected to hold a second round of ‘2+2’ dialogue soon.
President Trump also said that in November, India and the US will hold their first tri-services military exercise called ‘Tiger Triumph’.
“We must protect our borders… Border security is vital for the US, border security is vital for India, we understand that,” Trump said, adding that his country would take care of Indian-Americans first, before illegal immigrants.
Modi’s praise for Trump
Welcoming President Trump to the gala in English, Modi said: “We have met a few times, and every time, he has been the same — warm, friendly, accessible, energetic… I admire him for his sense of leadership, his passion for America, his belief in the American future and his resolve to ‘Make America Great Again’.”
The Prime Minister added that the event was being witnessed “from Houston to Hyderabad, from Boston to Bengaluru, from Chicago to Shimla, from Los Angeles to Ludhiana, and from New Jersey to New Delhi”.
In his address in Hindi after Trump spoke, Modi said the scale of the event was “unimaginable”.
Interestingly, Modi raked up the issue of data in front of Trump, even as data localisation and data privacy have become a contentious issue between the countries.
“Data is the new oil… Data is the new gold,” he said, adding that India offers “the cheapest data” in the world.