The U.S. President also described Mr. Modi as a “tremendously successful leader.”
Mr. Trump’s lavish praise while addressing a mammoth crowd at the Motera Stadium in Gujarat reflected the bonhomie shared by the two leaders.
“Prime Minister Modi, you are not just the pride of Gujarat. You are a living proof that with hard work and devotion Indians can accomplish anything, anything at all, anything they want,” Mr. Trump said, amid loud cheers from the audience at the mega “Namaste Trump” event.
In his long speech sprinkled with praise for not only Mr. Modi but also for India’s democracy, pluralism and diversity, Mr. Trump highlighted the country’s achievements and what its democracy offers to citizens.
“The story of the Indian nation is a tale of astounding progress, a miracle of democracy, extraordinary diversity, and above all, you noble people. India gives hope to all of humanity. In just 70 years, India has become an economic giant, one of the largest democracies ever to exist and one of the most amazing nations anywhere in the world,” President Trump said.
On his maiden visit, Mr Trump was accompanied by his family including the First Lady Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both senior advisors to the President.
Calling India an economic giant, the U.S. President, who seeks greater access to India’s markets, said, “Since the turn of the century, the size of the Indian economy has grown over six times in size. In a single decade, India has lifted over 270 million people out of poverty.”
He then went on to mention flagship schemes and programmes of the Modi administration and said, “Under Prime Minister Modi, for the first time, every village in India has access to electricity. 320 million more Indians are right now connected to the Internet. The pace of highway constructions has more than doubled, over 70 million more households… have access to cooking fuel, 600 million more people have access to basic sanitation and incredibly, 12 Indian citizens are lifted out of extreme poverty every single minute of every single day.”
He added that India will soon be home to the biggest middle class anywhere in the world, and within less than 10 years, “extreme poverty in your country is projected to completely disappear”.
While lauding India and its democracy and its rule of law, President Trump in a subtle way made a contrast with China and said, “There is all the difference in the world between a country that seeks to claim power through coercion, intimidation, and aggression, and a country that seeks to grow by setting its people free, and unleashing them to chase their dreams, and that is India.”
“This is why, India’s accomplishment in the last 70 years is completely unrivalled, no matter where you go. Your faith in the strength of a free society, your confidence in your people, your trust in your own citizens, and your respect for the dignity of every person, is what makes India and United States such a natural, enduring friendship,” Mr Trump said.
A common enemy
According to President Trump, both U.S. and India face the common enemy that is radical Islamic terrorism which has hurt both nations.
“The United States and India are also firmly united in their iron-clad resolve to defend its citizens from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. Both of our countries have been hurt by the pain and turmoil of terrorism and that terrorism brings,” he said, adding that his administration has unleashed the full power of the American military on the IS in Iraq and in Syria.
“Today, the ISIS territorial caliphate has been 100% destroyed, and the monster known as Al Baghdadi, the founder and leader of ISIS is dead,” he said.
He added that the U.S. would always welcome newcomers who share common values and love for people and stressed that U.S. borders will always be closed to terrorists and any form of extremism from anywhere.
He sought to defend his administration’s contentious move to screen immigrants and said that the US would continue to screen and vet the applications for entry to ensure that anyone who threatens US citizens would pay a “very, very big, costly price.”
“Every nation has the right to secure and controlled borders. The United States and India are committed to working together to stop terrorists, and fight their ideology,” said the President, whose statement on securing borders is likely go down well with the Indian government, which has amended its citizenship law to exclude Muslims from neighbouring countries from seeking India’s citizenship.
Trade deal coming
According to him, India and U.S. have common interests on trade and held that both countries will have a “big trade deal” without elaborating on differences that have cropped up between the two countries on economic and business front.
“Over the course of my visit, Prime Minister Modi and I will also discuss our efforts to expand the economic ties between our two countries. We will be making very, very major — among the biggest ever made — trade deals. We are in the early stages of discussion for an incredible trade agreement to reduce barriers of investment between the United States and India and I am optimistic that working together the Prime Minister and I can reach a fantastic deal that’s good and even great for both of our countries — except that he is a very tough negotiator.”
The US President claimed that after he took over, commerce between the two countries has increased by 40%.“Since my inauguration, commerce between our two nations has increased by more than 40 per cent. India is now a major market for American exports and the United States is India’s largest export market,” he said, adding that a booming America is a great thing for India.
Talking about his administration’s pro business measures, he said that the US under him has proven that the best way to attract jobs and opportunities is to reduce burdens on business, knock down barriers to new investment, and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape regulation and taxes.
President Trump praised India’s rapid strides in space explorations and said that US and India would seek to expand partnership and cooperation into space exploration.
“The United States and India are also working closely together on the future of space exploration. You are making impressive strides with your exciting Chandrayaan lunar mission. It is moving along rapidly far ahead of schedule and America looks forward to for expanding our space cooperation with India. As you push even further you are pushing the limits and that’s a great thing, including in the realm of human space flight,” he added. “The United States and India will be friends and partners on our voyage into the stars and into space.”