Trump says US will be India's loyal friend, working with Pakistan to deal with terrorists operating on its border
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], Feb 24 (ANI): US President Donald Trump on Monday reflected India's concerns on cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan as he spoke expanding bilateral military partnership and asserted that America will always be "faithful and loyal friend" to the Indian people.
Trump, who spoke at 'Namaste Trump' event at the packed Motera Stadium here after his arrival in India, lavishly praised on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership and spoke effusively of India's rise as a plural, diverse democracy. He announced that the two countries will sign deals to sell over USD $ 3 billion in for state-of-the-art helicopters and other equipment for Indian armed forces and said the US should be India's premier defence partner.
Trump, who was accompanied by his wife Melania, came to the stadium after a brief visit to Sabarmati Ashram where he spun charkha and garlanded the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner were also present.
From Ahmedabad, the Trumps flew to Agra and visited Taj Mahal. They appreciated the grandeur of the Taj Mahal in the picturesque backdrop of setting sun.
"The Taj Mahal inspires awe, a timeless testament to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture. Thank you India," Trump wrote in the visitors' book.
The US President reached New Delhi in the evening where he will have delegation-level talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
On his arrival at Ahmedabad airport, Trump was received by PM Modi. It is the first stand-alone visit by a US President and also a first in which the US president is travelling with his wife and daughter.
From the airport and along the route to Sabarmati Ashram and the stadium, people cheered the visiting leader and artistes from different states gave their performance.
The visit reflected the personal warmth and chemistry between him and PM Modi as they shook hands warmly and hugged each other. While praising the Prime Minister, Trump also described him as a "tough negotiator."
Trump, whose visit has come in an election year in the US, briefly talked about how the US economy under him was "booming like never before".
His speech received rapturous applause several times from the enthusiastic gathering at the largest cricket stadium in the world which can accommodate over one lakh people.
Trump said the US and India share common values and the two countries had "natural, beautiful, enduring friendship".
"The First Lady and I have just travelled 8,000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this nation: America loves India, America respects India, and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people," he said.
He said the two countries were in early stages of discussion for "an incredible trade agreement" to reduce barriers of investment and will be making "very, very major -- among the biggest ever made -- trade deals".
Trump said the United States and India were committed to working together to stop terrorists and to fight their ideology.
"For this reason, since taking office, my administration is working in a very positive way with Pakistan to crackdown on the terrorist organisations and militants that operate on the Pakistani border. Our relationship with Pakistan is a very good one.
Thanks to these efforts, we are beginning to see signs of big progress with Pakistan," he said.
Trump said the US was hopeful about reduced tensions, greater stability, and the future of harmony in South Asia.
"India has an important leadership role to play in shaping a better future as you take on greater responsibility for solving problems and promoting peace throughout this incredible region," he said.
He said the US and India were firmly united in their "ironclad" resolve to defend our 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. Under my administration, we unleashed the full power of the American military on bloodthirsty killers of ISIS in Iraq and in Syria. Today, the ISIS territorial caliphate has been 100 per cent destroyed. And the monster known as al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of ISIS, is dead," he said.
Trump referred to tri-service military exercise between the two countries and said: "It was something to behold."
"As we continue to build our defence cooperation, the United States looks forward to providing India with some of the best and most feared military equipment on the planet. We make the greatest weapons ever made: aeroplanes, missiles, rockets, ships. We make the best. And we're dealing now with India. But this includes advanced air defence systems and armed and unarmed aerial vehicles," he said.
The US President also spoke of "a free and open Indo-Pacific region."
"I believe the United States should be India's premier defense partner, and that's the way it's working out. Together, we will defend our sovereignty, security, and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region for our children and for many, many generations to come," he said.
Lauding India's diversity, he said harmonious coexistence of millions of followers of various religions in the country served as "inspiration to the world" and India proudly embraces freedom, liberty, individual rights and dignity.
Without taking any names, he said there is all the difference in the world between a nation that seeks power through coercion, intimidation, and aggression, and a nation that rises by setting its people free and unleashing them to chase their dreams.
"And that is India. This is why India's accomplishment over the last 70 years is completely unrivalled no matter where you go," he said.
He said India's rise as a prosperous and independent nation is an example to every nation all over the world and "one of the most outstanding achievements of our century".
"It is your faith in the strength of a free society, your confidence in your own people, your trust in your own citizens, and your respect for the dignity of every person that makes the United States and India such a natural, beautiful, enduring friendship," he said.
Referring to Howdy Modi event at Texas five months ago in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he addressed a gathering of Indian Americans, Trump said it was "a profound honour to be the beautiful new stadium".
"You have done great honour to the American people. Melania and my family, we will always remember this remarkable hospitality. We will remember it forever. From this day on, India will always hold a very special place in our hearts," he said.
Referring to Indian Americans, he said they are "truly spectacular people."
He said people in the US have come to know the splendour of Indian culture personally "through the 4 million Indian Americans."
"Indian Americans enrich every aspect of our national life. They are titans of business; the biggest, the best pioneers of science; masters of the art; and innovation of technology like few people have been able to see no matter where you go anywhere in this universe," he said.
He also said nearly a fourth of Indian Americans trace their roots right here in Gujarat, the home state of Modi. "Gujarat is a special place," he said.
Trump said while India and US have many differences but they are both defined and propelled by a fundamental truth - "the truth that all of us are blessed with divine light, and every person is endowed with a sacred soul."
He referred to Swami Vivekananda and said in both America and India, "we know that we are all born for a higher purpose: to reach toward our fullest potential, to work toward excellence and perfection, and to give all glory to God". (ANI)