Modi-Trump meeting: ‘We are going to have a very special… very intimate toast’

It took PM Narendra Modi and US President Donald 4 hours and 9 minutes — from 3.39 pm to 7.48 pm — to break ice and move substantively ahead, Shubhajit Roy reports from the sidelines.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Washington | Updated: June 28, 2017 3:55 am
Modi-Trump Joint Statement, Modi US Visit, Narendra Modi, Donald Trump, Pakistan and terror, Global entry programme, World News, India News, Indian Express News Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugs President Donald Trump as he departs from the White House, Monday, June 26, 2017, in Washington. (PTI)

It took PM Narendra Modi and US President Donald 4 hours and 9 minutes — from 3.39 pm to 7.48 pm — to break ice and move substantively ahead, Shubhajit Roy reports from the sidelines.

3.39 pm: US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walked out of White House south portico. A black limousine carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi drove down.

3.41 pm: The trio turned and walked inside. Trump ignored a shouted question about whether he is at war with the media.

3.45 pm: They went to the Oval office. Trump said, “It’s a great honour to have Prime Minister Modi of India who has been such a great Prime Minister. I’ve been speaking with…and reading about you, and you have done a great job economically. India is doing very well…. So I’d like to congratulate you.”

Modi said, through a translator, “I think I will have a lot to speak after the meeting but the way I have been welcomed by the Honourable President and the First Lady, I’m extremely grateful to them for the respect and for the grand welcome.”

Modi spoke about Trump’s visit to India before he became President, and asked by the media about Modi, he was “full of very warm remarks”, which Modi remembers till date.

3.51 pm: First bilateral leader-level talks. There were 12 people on each side. Trump had US Vice President Mike Pence on his right and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his left. Modi sat opposite Trump, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval beside him.

Trump said, “It’s a great honour to have Prime Minister Modi with us, his representatives, we’ve had a lot of discussions already. So we’re making great progress. The relationship with the United States and India is very, very strong and very, very powerful. We agree on most things and I would say by the end of the day we’ll agree on everything. I have a feeling…”

Modi spoke for about a minute about the conversation they had, and expressed hope for a good conversation they were going to have.
Trump spoke again: “…And thank you very much for the equipment, ordering [military] equipment from the United States. Always makes us feel very good. Nobody makes military equipment like we make…nobody even close, so we want to thank you very much…”

5.31 pm: Modi and Trump walked out into Rose Garden. During the statements, Trump spoke first followed by Modi.

6.18 pm: A long rectangular table set for dinner ran through the centre of the Blue Room.
“We’ll do a toast as soon as the media leaves,” Trump said. “We’re going to have a very special toast, a very intimate toast…. We have had tremendous meetings today, tremendous success. We enjoy a wonderful relationship but it’s never been better than it is today. And, again, anytime you’d like we want to have you back as soon as possible.”

Modi said, “Mr President, let me express my gratitude for this invitation. It is true that I have spent a very short time over here but really I have felt so much at home during this stay in the US. I’m indeed also very grateful to the First Lady. She has organised this reception in my honour. This honours not just me but 1.25 billion people of India…”

Trump said, “They had elections in a section of India and it was just a small section, but he (Modi) said it’s the seventh largest country in the world. So I said, you know what? This is a better day. But it is great to have you…”

Modi said, “And to add icing to the cake is that in those elections, our party won.”
“Good,” Trump interjected.
“And after many years we’ve got three-fourths majority in the state assembly,” Modi said.
“That’s fantastic…. You won by a lot.”

7.46 pm: Trump and Melania walked out of South portico doors with Modi.

7.48 pm: Trump and Melania waved goodbye as Modi’s motorcade pulled away.

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  1. N
    Jun 28, 2017 at 9:31 am
    China has suddenly found itself in a very uncomfortable position under the Modi-Trump era, with J a pan joining. Most of the Chinese expansionist and military designs (CPEC being a key element) were laid during a very weak Indian leadership under Manmohan. Tables have turned abruptly in the times of a genius and hardworking Modi, which even Nawaz and Chinese president combined are not capable of matching. Throw on top of this, an exponential increase in Indian missile technology, partnership with rest of the world to get and make best of weapon systems, leap frogging of Indian space program China is suddenly in a and bubble which it never expected even 2 years ago. From now on, China is predicted to be on an aggressive mode, both diplomatically and militarily. India should protect it's own interests by attending to global flow of raw materials in its favour, expanding on pharmaceuticals and health, and getting it's due share to produce electronics and solar energy.
    1. N
      Jun 28, 2017 at 9:10 am
      Modi's trip is a g success for India given the current backdrop. OBOR/CPEC clearly was a pact between Pathi military and China, in which Pathi civilian leadership was not involved deeply in any planning. An open run was given to China for military gains, under a pretext of business. On the other hand, India has suddenly changed 90 degrees under Modi, in an unthinkable contrast to Manmohan, breaking all barriers in business, diplomacy and technology. China has suddenly found itself scanty clothed, due it's constant backing in UN of the top terrorists in Pathistan. This B.b er has exposed a corrupt piece of Chinese mindset to the whole world, which the world is taking a serious note of, Pathi originated jihadi terror has left a lengthy trail of killings in many nations. OBOR is surely a piece of history by now, and this is going to infuriate China. This was a sneaky way to the top. Dubious business tactics, diverting risk to others, and laying debt traps is now well exposed.
      1. K
        Jun 28, 2017 at 6:49 am
        Modi should stop hugging everyone, it must be reserved for a special person. Also, all countries are not used to hugging.
        1. G
          Jun 28, 2017 at 5:13 am
          lagta hai trump ne gunday vomit shah ki tarah namo g an du ki g aa nd mardi bend kardi