'Father of India' Modi can handle Pakistan-based terrorism: Donald Trump
In his fourth meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year, and the second one in a span of three days, United States President Donald Trump had nothing but laudatory words for the former. Going as far as suggesting that he be referred to as "Father of India", Trump told reporters on Tuesday that PM Modi can take care of terrorism originating from Pakistan.
The two leaders, who had shared the stage at a mega event in Houston on Sunday, addressed media before their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly. Trump was asked to comment on Pakistan PM Imran Khan's statement, in which he admitted his nation's military taught al Qaeda. Replying he hadn't "heard of that", Trump expressed confidence in PM Modi.
"I know that your PM will take care of it. It will be great if they (PM Modi and Khan) can work out something in Kashmir... you have a great PM, he will solve the problem," Trump said.
#WATCH New York: US President Donald Trump says, "...The Prime Minister (PM Modi) will take care of it" when asked 'how do you see the statement coming from Pakistani PM admitting that the Pakistani ISI trained Al Qaeda?' pic.twitter.com/xex80Hg5aH— ANI (@ANI) September 24, 2019
Further, when he was asked what statement he would like to give Islamabad considering Khan's admission that terrorists operated from Pakistani soil, Trump said, "The message (to Pakistan) is not for me to give, it is for Prime Minister Modi to give." He added PM Modi gave a "very loud message" the other day, referring to his address to the 50,000-strong gathering in Houston.
Interestingly, Trump mentioned the 'Howdy Modi' event at the press meet and had glowing things to say about it. He said the response which PM Modi got was akin to what Elvis Presley used to receive. "There was a tremendous spirit in that room...those people loved this gentleman (PM Modi)... they went crazy. He is like an Indian version of Elvis," he added.
"I remember India before, it was very torn, it was a lot fighting and he brought it all together. Like a father would bring it together. Maybe he is the father of India. We will call him the father of India," Trump said.
Later, the Foreign Ministry disclosed details about Trump and PM Modi's bilateral meeting, which lasted 40 minutes. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said that Trump was told India isn't shying away from talks but it is expecting Pakistan to take some "concrete steps". "PM Modi raised the issue of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and President Trump assured of all support in tackling terrorism," Gokhale added.
It was widely expected that India and the US could iron out their trade differences and come up with a deal which suits both the countries. But the deal fell through, despite Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal flying down to the US with the same agenda. Goyal and US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer couldn't bridge the gap, and the much-anticipated announcement was never made.
While Gokhale didn't divulge details on why plans derailed, The Hindu reported that US and India couldn't come on the same page as far as Information and communications technology (ICT) products are concerned. Gokhale assured that both sides have "narrowed their differences" and "significant progress" has been made. Without mentioning a time frame, he added a deal will be signed "in the near future".