Edison (New Jersey): Terming India as a "key strategic ally", Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has promised that if voted to power India and the US would become "best friends" and have a "phenomenal future" together.
"India's is the world's largest democracy and is a natural ally of the US. Under a Trump Administration, we are going to become even better friends, in fact I would take the term better out and we would be best friends," Trump, 70, told a cheering crowd of Indian-Americans at a charity event organised by the Republican Hindu Coalition yesterday.
"We are for free trade. We will have good trade deals with other countries. We are going to do a lot of business with India. We are going to have a phenomenal future together," he said.
He praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking India on a fast track growth with a series of economic reforms and reforming bureaucracy, saying it was required in the US too.
"I look forward to working with Prime Minister Modi who has been very energetic in reforming the economy and bureaucracy. Great man. I applaud him," Trump said.
It was for the first time a US presidential candidate attended an Indian-American event this election season.
"I am a big fan of Hindu and I am a big fan of India. If elected, the Indian and Hindu community would have a true friend at the White House," Trump said at the event organised for the Kashmiri Pundits and Bangladeshi Hindu terrorist victims.
"I have two massive developments in India, very successful, wonderful, wonderful partners, very beautiful, I must say. I have great friends and great confidence in India. Incredible people and an incredible country. I was there 19 months ago and look forward to going there many many times," he said.
Trump appreciated India's role in fight against terrorism.
"We appreciate the great friend India has been to the US in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism," he said as he slammed his rival Hillary Clinton for not using this word.
Trump said India had experienced firsthand "brutality of terror" in the past "including the mayhem in Mumbai, a place that I love, a place that I understand."
The terrorist attack in Mumbai, the attack on Indian Parliament was "absolutely outrageous" and terrible, he said.
"India is a key, and key strategic ally. And we do not even want to talk about it, because it is nothing but a relationship that we will have. I look forward to deepening the diplomatic and military cooperation that is the shared interest of both countries," he said.
"Your great Prime Minister has been a pro-growth leader for India. He has simplified the tax code, cut the taxes and the economy is strong growing at 7 per cent year. Excellent. Our economy is practically not growing at all in the US. It's about zero. We will have a great relationship with India," Trump said.