Trump extols Modi as ‘father of India, Elvis-like figure’


NEW YORK: The special chemistry between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump shone anew as they showered praise on each other, with Mr Trump glowingly describing the Indian leader as “the father of India” and comparing him to iconic American actor and singer Elvis Presley.

Building on their unprecedented bonhomie at a massive Indian community rally in Houston, Mr Modi and Mr Trump held bilateral talks on the margins of the UNGA on September 24 and focused primarily on issues relating to trade and terrorism. This was the fourth engagement between the two leaders since PM Modi was re-elected with a spectacular majority in the May 2019 elections.

In their opening statement before they sat down for talks, Mr Trump evocatively described the India-US relations as the best ever. The relations between India and the US have never better, Mr Trump said.

In response to a question from Mr Manish Chand, Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network, Mr Trump extolled PM Modi as the “father of India,” “a great gentleman and a great leader.”

“Well, my personal chemistry is as good as it can get. I have great respect. I have great admiration. And I really like him — that’s another thing. And he’s a great gentleman and a great leader,” he said.

“And I remember India before. Now, not intimately, but I remember India before, and it was very torn. There was a lot of dissension, a lot of fighting. And he brought it all together, like a father would bring it together. Maybe he’s the father of India.”

“We’ll call him “the father of India.” I think that’s not so bad. But he brought things together. And you don’t hear that anymore. So, I think he’s done a fantastic job,” said Mr Trump;

Alluding to the spectacular “Howdy Modi” show in Houston on September 22, a massive outreach to the 50,000-strong Indian community, Mr Trump said: What the event showed is how much I like the country of India and how much I like your Prime Minister.” Mr Trump joined PM Modi at the Houston show and showered praises on the Indian leader.

In New York, Mr Trump was effusive as ever in praise of PM Modi. “There was tremendous spirit in that room, too. And they love this gentleman to my right. They really do. Those people went crazy. That was like Elvis. That was like an American — he’s like an American version of Elvis,” he said. Mr Trump’s comparison of PM Modi to the king of rock and roll triggered laughter from the Indian and US delegations who accompanied their respective leaders for the talks in New York.

“They love your Prime Minister. It’s a great thing.”