Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump embraced at least thrice Monday in an indication of the strong rapport and camaraderie the two leaders were able to establish in their first meeting at the White House. PM Modi even flashed a thumbs-up sign at First Lady Melania Trump as he arrived at the White House.
PM Modi and President Trump engaged in a one-on-one meeting, extensive bilateral talks and then later a ‘working dinner’, the first under a Trump administration.
At the joint press briefing in the Rose Garden, the two leaders exchanged firm handshakes and heaped praise on each other. They talked of the shared values and the commitments they have honoured over the years between the world’s largest and oldest democracies. President Trump said India has a ‘true friend’ in him at the White House.
“I am thrilled to salute you, Prime Minister Modi, and the Indian people for all that you are accomplishing together. Your accomplishments have been vast,” Trump said.
The US President did not shy away in saying that the US-India partnership ‘has never looked brighter’ and stressed that both countries were tied together in friendship and respect.
After Trump made his remarks, PM Modi walked over, shook hands and embraced the US President.
In return, PM Modi remarked that he appreciated Trump’s commitment and efforts to strengthening bilateral relations.
“I am sure that under your leadership, our mutually beneficial strategic partnership will gain new strength, new
positivity, and will reach new heights, and that your vast and successful experience in the business world will lend an
aggressive and forward-looking agenda to our relations,” he said.
The visiting leader also extended an invitation to President Trump and his family to visit India. He said he looked forward to hosting Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter, as she leads a US delegation for an entrepreneurship summit later this year in India.
Sources told the Indian Express that PM Modi gifted the US President and the First Lady hand-woven shawls from Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, a handcrafted silver bracelet, tea and honey from Kangra Valley and most importantly, a folio containing a commemorative postage stamp issued by India in 1965 on the death centenary of former US President Abraham Lincoln. Trump is reported to have given PM Modi a guided tour of the residential quarters in the White House and showed him the bedroom used by Lincoln.