Washington: Mere minutes after being received by US President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recounted to reporters that the real estate tycoon had said “very gracious things” about him on a 2014 visit to India.
“Even before he (Trump) ran for the US Presidency, when he came to India in 2014 and was asked about me, he said very nice things about me, that’s something I will always remember,” said PM Modi at a brief photo-op in the ‘oval room’ before going into a one-on-one meeting with Trump in the ‘oval office’ of the White House.
Just before that, Trump and US first lady Melania welcomed the PM outside the White House, as he alighted from his limousine. Trump and Modi shook hands vigorously and Modi appeared to have even cracked a joke as Trump could be seen laughing.
“The way the President and the first lady both welcomed and accorded me respect, I’m very grateful. This shows their respect not for me but for 125 crore Indians,” Modi said, as both leaders briefly posed together for photographers before going into their huddle.
The US President too said it was “a great honour” to be hosting PM Modi who is a “great Prime Minister”. “He is such a great Prime Minister. I have been speaking with him and reading about him. He is doing a great job. Economically, India is doing very well and in so many other ways. I would like to congratulate him for this,” Trump added
Earlier on Monday, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and US defense secretary Jim Mattis separately called on Modi. The issues that figured prominently in both discussions were terrorism, Afghanistan and the situation in the Asia Pacific region, external affairs spokesman Gopal Baglay said.
Modi conveyed to Tillerson that the “fulcrum of India’s foreign policy” is to have good relations with all nations, “in particular with its neighbours.” And discussions between Modi and Mattis focussed on the Asia Pacific region, with a veiled reference to the South China Sea over which China is laying an absolute claim, reported .