Trump tells India rally US has a ‘very good’ relation with Pakistan
–– hopes for reduced tension in region
NEW DELHI: US President Donald Trump, while addressing a packed rally in Ahmedabad after his arrival in India on Monday, said the United States has “a very good relation” with Pakistan and hopes to reduce tensions in the region.
“US and India are committed to stopping terrorists and fight their ideology. For this reason, since taking office, my administration is working in a very positive way with Pakistan to crack down on terrorist organisations and militants which operate on the Pakistani border,” said Trump.
“Our relationship with Pakistan is a very good one. Thanks to these efforts, we are beginning to see signs of big progress with Pakistan and we are hopeful for reduced tensions, greater stability and the future of harmony for all of the nations of South Asia,” said Trump on the first day of his whirlwind 36-hour visit meant to reaffirm US-India ties.
More than 100,000 people packed into the world’s largest cricket stadium, giving Trump the biggest rally crowd of his political career, for the pinnacle of the day’s trio of presidential photo-ops.
The boisterous scene featured soldiers on camels, a mix of songs from Bollywood hits and Trump’s campaign rally playlist, including an Elton John hit that seemed to puzzle most of the crowd. Trump basked in the raucous reception that has eluded him on many foreign trips, some of which have featured massive protests and icy handshakes from world leaders.
Nearly everyone in the newly constructed stadium in Ahmedabad in western India sported a white cap with the name of the event, “Namaste, Trump” or “Welcome, Trump”, and roared for the introductions of both Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Addressing the event, Modi said history is being scripted at the Motera stadium. He recalled his visit to America with a “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston five months ago.
He said Trump now is starting his journey in India in Ahmedabad with a rally named “Namaste Trump”.
Modi welcomed Trump to the “biggest democracy in the world” and led the crowd in chanting “Long live India-US friendship”.
Trump opened his speech by declaring that he traveled 8,000 miles to deliver the message that “America loves India, America respects India and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people”.
The president called Modi a “tremendously successful leader” who has transformed the country.
He said the United States was prepared to supply India with defence equipment, ranging from drones to helicopters and missile systems. Trump said he looked forward to expanding space cooperation between the two nations, and said both sides were at the early stages of reaching an “incredible” trade agreement.
There was no mention by Trump of the protests enveloping India over its Citizenship Amendment Act.
Clashes take place
in New Delhi hours
before Trump visit
Hours before US President Donald Trump visits Indian capital New Delhi, the city saw clashes between protesters and law enforcement personnel as agitation against the controversial citizenship law heats up.
The latest unrest erupted between several hundred supporters and opponents of the law in a Muslim-dominated area of northeast Delhi on Sunday, and continued into Monday with police seeking to restore order.
The Press Trust of India said protesters torched at least two houses and a fire engine, with local TV channels showing plumes of black smoke billowing from buildings. And two Indian newspapers reported online that a police officer had died.
Riot police fired tear gas and conducted baton charges, local media said.
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi´s chief minister, tweeted: “Very distressing news regarding disturbance of peace and harmony in parts of Delhi coming in.”
He urged the home minister to “restore law and order” and ensure “peace and harmony is maintained.” – Agencies