Donald Trump Says Modi Was ‘Very Aggressive’ In His Remarks About Pakistan

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NEW YORK – Mercurial US President Donald Trump has again courted a controversy over India and Pakistan just a day after participating in the ‘Howdy Modi’ rally with Prime Minister Narendra Modi by asserting that the Indian leader was “very aggressive” in his remarks about Pakistan there and that he had not expected him to make them.

 

Speaking to reporters before his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday, Trump said: “I heard a very aggressive statement yesterday. I don’t have to say that. I was there. I didn’t know I was going to hear that statement.

 

“But I was sitting there and I heard a very aggressive statement yesterday from India, from the Prime Minister, and I will say it was very well received within the rule–you know, within the room. The statement itself. That was a big room; there were 59,000 people.”

The remark was off the cuff and poorly phrased with a stumble over “rule” and “room”.

 

He repeated that it was a “very aggressive statement” and added, “I hope that they’re going to be able to come together–India and Pakistan–and do something that’s really smart and good for both.”

 

 

Trump is scheduled to meet Modi on Wednesday at 12.15 pm New York Time (9.45 pm IST).

 

Asked about Trump’s remark, External Affairs Ministry Secretary (West), Gitesh Sarma, declined to comment.

 

He said, “There is a meeting tomorrow (with Trump). Let us wait for it.”

 

Trump’s statement about Modi making “very aggressive statement” is puzzling because the remarks were about terrorism and Trump himself had talked about fighting terrorism. In his speech at the ‘Howdy Modi’ rally, Trump had said to a standing ovation from the audience, “We are committed to protecting innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.”

 

Modi had said that the same people who were bothered by India rescinding Kashmir’s special constitutional status under Article 370 were the same ones who “shield terrorism and nurture it”. He did not name Pakistan, but added, “The whole world knows them very well. Their identity is in the sponsorship of terror and the world knows it.”

 

A diplomatic source, who follows Trump’s verbal somersaults, said that from his mangled prose it appeared that he probably meant to say Modi was very “passionate” but instead said “aggressive”.

 

The diplomat said that with Trump’s America it was more useful to look at the broader picture of the India-US ties that are close and growing rather than trying to read into Trump’s every statement knowing that he had misspoken about various countries, including close allies.