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Don’t misinterpret what was said: Jaishankar on PM ‘endorsing’ Trump at ‘Howdy, Modi’ event

Asserting India's non-partisan stand to domestic American politics, Jaishankar said PM Modi was merely referring to what Donald Trump had used to pitch his candidature to the Indian American community during his election campaign for the 2020 elections.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 1, 2019 11:01:13 am
Narendra Modi, Donald Trump, Howdy Modi, Abki baar trump sarkar, jaishankar on howdy modi event, s jaishankar, howdy modi pm address, howdy modi speech, US elections Prime Minister Narendra Modi with United States President Donald Trump at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas (AP)

Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned around his own election slogan to ‘Abki Baar Trump Sarkar’ at the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event in Houston, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar rejected the notion that the PM was endorsing Donald Trump’s re-election bid.

Asserting India’s non-partisan stand to domestic American politics, Jaishankar, currently on a three-day trip to Washington DC, said the prime minister was merely referring to what the US president had used to pitch his candidature to the Indian American community during his election campaign for the 2020 elections.

“No, he did not say that,” Jaishankar was quoted by news agency PTI, when asked about the implication of the prime minister purportedly using the slogan in his Houston address.

“I think, please, look very carefully at what the prime minister said. My recollection of what the prime minister said was that candidate Trump had used this (“Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkaar”). So PM is talking about the past. I don’t think we should, honestly, misinterpret what was said. I don’t think you’re doing a good service to anybody,” Jaishankar said in response to the question.

Read | ‘Teach PM some diplomacy’: Rahul Gandhi after Jaishankar clarifies Modi’s ‘Trump Sarkar’ remark

“I mean, he (Modi) was pretty clear what he was talking about. He was saying, this is what you said as a candidate, which showed that you were trying to, (connect with India and its people even as a candidate),” Jaishankar said, urging the journalist to be accurate. “We have a very nonpartisan (approach to domestics US politics). So, our sort of approach to whatever happens in this country is their politics, not our politics,” Jaishankar said.

Addressing the Indian diaspora in Texas during the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event, PM Modi hailed Trump saying he admires him for his “sense of leadership, a passion for America, a concern for every American and a strong resolve to make America great again”.

“The words of candidate Trump, ‘Abki Baar Trump sarkar’, rang loud and clear. And his celebration of Diwali in the White House lit up millions of faces with joy and appreciation,” Modi had said while introducing Trump. This was the first time that both the leaders were sharing the stage together.

PM Modi’s remarks came under sharp criticism from Congress who accused him of violating India’s foreign policy of not interfering in the domestic elections of another country. In a series of tweets, Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma had said Modi was in the US as India’s prime minister and not a star campaigner in the US elections.

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