Trump tells Modi India ‘a true friend and partner’, invites PM to US ‘later this year’

January 25, 2017

Washington, Jan 25: In a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the US considers India a “true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world”, according to a White House statement.

Modifriend

The two leaders also discussed opportunities to “strengthen the partnership between the United States and India in broad areas such as the economy and defense”, the statement said without citing specific areas, sectors or goals.

Modi and Trump, who were speaking for the first time after the new US president took charge last Friday, also discussed “security in the region of South and Central Asia” and, once again the statement left out details.

South and Central Asia cover many areas of mutual interest to both India and the United States including Pakistan and Afghanistan and it could not be immediately confirmed if they discussed the drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan.

But the two leaders resolved, according to the White House statement, “that the United States and India stand shoulder to shoulder in the global fight against terrorism”, which has been a priority for both of them and both countries.

Trump is hosting Modi later in the year, but it was, once again, not immediately clear if that will be in September-October when the Indian prime minister comes to the US for the UN general assembly meeting, or some other time.

But the two, who first spoke in November when Modi was among the first foreign leaders to call Trump on his election, are likely to meet during the next meeting of the G-20, which is scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany in July.

Since that first call, India engaged with Trump on two separate occasions: The first was a meeting between Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar and then Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, and the second on December 19 when Ajit Doval, national security adviser to PM Modi, met Trump’s NSA Michael Flynn.

And now the call. The US statement contained no details and it was not known if trade in services, read H-1B, came up during their phone call, as many had expected, since it being the one issue that had agitated New Delhi the most about Trump.

The fate of the temporary US visa programme for high-skilled foreign workers, which is at the heart to India’s burgeoning IT exports to the US, seemed uncertain, given the president’s own reservations about it, and those of leading members of his team.

They believe the H-1B programme is being abused by the US companies to outsource American jobs to temporary foreign workers, a large number of them from India, and they have been considering ways to make it harder for that to happen.

“There is no other area of potential dispute or differences with the United States under President Trump,” said an Indian official, who spoke strictly on background. He added, “H-1B is the only problem for us as of now.”

In response to a question about India-US relations, White House press secretary Sean Spicer had said Monday that as with other countries, the Trump administration is focussed on access to markets in manufacturing and services.

Since being sworn-in last Friday, the new president has begun engaging with world leaders and has spoken to prime minister and president of neighboring Canada and Mexico first — with whom he plans to renegotiate the NAFTA trade deal.

He has also talked since with Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who he has invited to to a meeting in early February. And he meets Teresa May, prime minister of America’s closest ally the United Kingdom, on Friday.

The Tuesday call with Modi, on the second day of Trump’s first week in office, is being taken as sign of the priority he is attaching to the relationship, after an unprecedented outreach to the Indian American community during election.

At an election rally in New Jersey, Trump had said on his watch as president that India and the US will be “best friends” and, added in a typically Trumpian hyperbole that “there will be no relationship more important to me”.

At the suggestion of the Republican Hindu Coalition founder Shalli Kumar, who had organised the rally, Trump recorded a campaign call modeled on Modi’s election slogan “Abki baar Modi sarkar”, replacing Modi with Trump.

Also, Prime Minister Modi appears to have an admirer in Steve Bannon, chief strategist and senior counseller to the president, who had in 2014 called Modi’s election a “great victory … very much based on … Reaganesque principles”.

Bannon was then chief executive officer of Breitbart News, a stridently conservative news publication, and would become in 2016 a leading and early supporter of Trump, and later went on to head his campaign in August.

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ali
 - 
Wednesday, 25 Jan 2017

Modi is happy, because after a long time after leaving his wife, he got the life partner in trump.

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May 14,2024

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Comedian Shyam Rangeela on Tuesday that he was barred from filing his nomination papers for the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. He intended to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Varanasi seat by contesting as an Independent candidate.

Despite attempts to file his papers since May 10, Rangeela alleged he was denied entry to the district magistrate's office on the day Prime Minister Modi filed his nomination. He also said that he is not taking any team from Sriganganagar to contest the Lok Sabha elections in Varanasi. 

Shyam Rangeela further claimed that he has received several phone calls from Varanasi and people are willing to join him. "Winning or losing is a different matter, but I will contest the elections against the Prime Minister at any cost. I am not contesting elections to become famous, I am already very famous among the public."

The Congress party also waded into the controversy. Congress leader Surendra Rajput told news agency PTI that everyone is free to file a nomination including Prime Minister Modi. Rajput claimed that Rangeela was not getting nomination papers from the administration. 

"Everyone is free to file a nomination including PM Modi. However, other people are not allowed to file their nominations from the constituency. A YouTuber named (Shyam) Rangeela, who wished to file a nomination from Varanasi, isn’t getting nomination papers from the administration. Why PM Modi is afraid of people? Let them contest against you," he said. 

PM Modi, contesting for a third term, previously won the Varanasi seat by 4.8 lakh votes in 2019 and by 3.72 lakh votes in 2014. So far, 14 individuals, including mainstream political party candidates and independents, have filed their nominations for the Varanasi constituency.

Congress candidate Ajai Rai and Bahujan Samajwadi Party's Athar Ali Lari are among them. Rangeela, a YouTuber and mimic from Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh, rose to fame in 2017 with his act impersonating PM Modi. He has been critical of the Prime Minister and his policies, as evident in his videos.
 

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May 22,2024

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New Delhi: Acting on a one-month-old notice it sent to the BJP on complaints over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s provocative and communal remarks, the Election Commission of India on Wednesday directed the saffron party’s star campaigners not to make speeches along 'religious/communal lines' and desist from statements that may 'divide the society'.

Separately, it also asked the Congress' star campaigners not to give 'false impression' of abolishing or selling the Constitution, make speeches that create 'mutual hatred or cause tension' between religious or linguistic communities or 'potentially divisive statements' regarding the socio-economic composition of the armed forces.

The EC’s letters to BJP president JP Nadda and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge conveying its directions came 27 days after it issued separate notices to them on complaints against Modi, Kharge and Rahul Gandhi. Though the complaints were annexed in the notice that were sent to party chiefs and not the alleged violators, the names of violators were not mentioned.

It also comes ten days before the seven-phased elections are ending on June 1 though the notices were issued a day before the second phase of polls on April 25. While Nadda had responded to the letter on May 13 after seeking two extensions, Kharge submitted his arguments on May 6 after seeking one extension. They were initially given time till April 29.

In its letter to Nadda, the EC said he has not denied the utterances mentioned in the Congress complaint though it 'stoutly defended' the campaign methods and remarks while invoking a 'unilateral drawing of inferences and interpretations' of star campaigners of opponents. It said its star campaigners continued with objectionable utterances even after the April 25 notice.

The latest communication came against the backdrop of complaints by Congress and other parties which referred to Modi’s speech in Banswara as “communal” where he spoke about Congress seeking to redistribute people’s wealth to “infiltrators”, in a veiled reference to Muslims, and that women’s ‘mangalsutras’ will be snatched.

Emphasising that Nadda’s defence was 'not tenable', the EC said, 'directs you as party president to also convey to all star campaigners to not make speeches and statements, which may divide the society. Directs BJP and its star campaigners to refrain from any campaigning methods/utterances along religious/communal lines'.

In its letter to Kharge, the EC said Kharge too has justified Congress star campaigners’ contentious remarks while claiming that the complaint had 'wilfully extracted only specific portions, devoid of context, to mislead the Commission'. Kharge also claimed that the BJP leaders were making 'motivated statements' invoking religious sentiments to attract voters.

The EC, which had taken cognisance of complaints against Kharge and Rahul, said the assertion of Congress’ star campaigners about the BJP attempting to change the Constitution was allegedly instilling fear in the minds of voters about an uncertain future and an attempt to spread anarchy in the country and could be considered as “corrupt practice” under election laws.

While insisting that it cannot accept the Congress arguments and find it untenable, the EC directed Kharge to convey to all star campaigners that they do not make statements which give a 'false impression such as the Constitution of India may be abolished or sold'.

Amid the Congress making a campaign point on the controversial Agniveer scheme, it also directed him to convey to star campaigners that they should not indulge in political propaganda involving the military and not make 'potentially divisive statements' regarding socio-economic composition of defence forces.

Both the party presidents to ensure that star campaigners refrain from making any statement that may “aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic”.

The EC also referred to controversial statements after the April 25 notice by star campaigners from both sides in its letters, referring to complaints and counter complaints.

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May 14,2024

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Jerusalem: Israel and India will continue to deepen their bilateral ties and lead to greater prosperity, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Tuesday.

Katz was responding to India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s message on the occasion of Israel’s 76th Independence Day.

“Thank you for the warm wishes, FM @DrSJaishankar. In celebration of our Independence Day, Israel and India will continue to deepen our ties and lead to greater prosperity,” Katz said in a post on X.

Earlier in the morning, Jaishankar posted on X a 2:03-minute video showcasing the India-Israel relationship through photos of various bilateral meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, himself, and other Indian ministers with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other ministers.

“Congratulate FM @Israel_katz and the people of Israel on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of Israel’s Independence. Mazel Tov!,” Jaishankar posted along with the video and repeated the same message in another post in Hebrew.

Meanwhile, President Droupadi Murmu wished her Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog as she said on X, “I join the people of India in conveying our best wishes to President @Isaac_Herzog, and the people of Israel on the 76th anniversary of Israel’s independence.”

Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla too took to X to post his greetings to his counterpart Amir Ohana, the Speaker of The Knesset: “On the occasion of Israel’s 76th anniversary of independence, I congratulate Speaker of the Knesset @AmirOhana and the people of Israel.”

Both Murmu and Birla also included greetings in Hebrew.

“Thank you, my dear friend @ombirlakota. May the friendship between our nations grow stronger,” Ohana replied to Birla and also added a line in Devnagari script in Hindi, loosely translated as, “Thank you my dear friend Om Birla. May the friendship between our countries be stronger.”

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