New Delhi: In the last weeks of a fiercely-contested election, Donald Trump made an unusual stop – a meeting organised by a group calling itself the Hindu Republican Coalition in New Jersey. On the sidelines of the event, he gave an exclusive interview to a private news channel. "I have great respect for Hindus. I have so many friends that are Hindu. They are great people, amazing entrepreneurs," he said.
Meanwhile he promised that if voted to power India and the US would become "best friends" and have a "phenomenal future" together. "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 going to have a phenomenal future together," Trump said as he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking India on a fast track growth with a series of economic reforms and reforming the bureaucracy, which he said is required in the US too.
"I look forward to working with Prime Minister Modi," he said, adding that the Indian leader is very energetic. It was for the first time a 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, adding that he has great confidence in Modi and India.
"I was there 19 months ago and look forward to going there many many times," he said at the event organised for the Kashmiri Pundits and Bangladeshi Hindu terrorist victims. 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 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for not using this word.
"Mumbai, a city, I love. The attack on India was absolutely outrageous," he said while assuring some 5,000 Indian-Americans at the event that if he becomes the president, the US would "share soldier to soldier together" in the fight against terrorism.
"India is key and a key strategic ally," he said, adding that he looks forward to deepening and strengthening military cooperation with India.
In his welcome address, the Republican Hindu Coalition founder and chairman said that this is the first time in the history that a major presidential candidate has addressed Hindu-Americans just three weeks before the election. He urged Hindus to support and vote for Trump in the upcoming general election and help fight terrorism.
Praising hard work and enterprise of the Indian community, Trump said, "generations of Hindus and Indian-Americans have strengthened our country".
Congratulating the Indian community for having the highest rate of entrepreneurship, he said, "that's very impressive by the way". Trump said he was looking forward to doing some "serious" bureaucratic trimming in the US as he feels it is needed the most.
"We are going to have great relation with China and Mexico, but we are going to have a great relationship with India," Trump said even as he lashed out at the business practices of China, particularly stealing intellectual property.
In his welcome address, the Republican Hindu Coalition founder and chairman said that this is the first time in the history that a major presidential candidate has addressed Hindu-Americans just three weeks before the election.
He urged Hindus to support and vote for Trump in the upcoming general election and help fight terrorism. "We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism. We will stand soldier to soldier in this fight. This is so important in the age of ISIS," Trump said.