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Donald Trump

Trump invites Indian PM Modi to visit later this year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 January, 2017, 11:17am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 January, 2017, 11:02pm

US President Donald Trump will host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the United States later this year, the White House said after the pair spoke by phone Tuesday.

During the call, Trump emphasised that the United States “considers India a true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world,” according to a readout of the call.

“The two discussed opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the United States and India in broad areas such as the economy and defence.

“President Trump looked forward to hosting Prime Minister Modi in the United States later this year.”

Modi congratulated Trump following his November election win, saying he appreciated his “friendship” with India.

Tweeting from his personal account, Modi said his conversation with Trump had been “warm”, and that they would work closely in the coming days to further strengthen bilateral ties. He also invited Trump to visit India.

The US and India are the world’s two largest democracies. They share concerns about militancy emanating from Pakistan and about the rise of China.

Trump courted Indian-American voters during the campaign and released a campaign advertisement in Hindi for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

In balancing US and China relations, India needs to focus on economics

In the ad, Trump adapted a catchphrase used by Modi in his successful 2014 run for India’s top job - “Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkaar,” which translates into English as “This time a Trump government” - and said he was looking forward to working with the Indian leader.

Watch: Trump campaign ad for Indian Americans

US-India relations generally prospered under the Obama administration, but New Delhi will be hoping that Trump takes a tougher line on Pakistan, which receives substantial U.S. aid.

India and Pakistan are neighbours and have fought three wars.

Additional reporting by Associated Press and Reuters