Relationship between US, India is ‘people-driven, people centric’: PM Modi

NEW DELHI: Thanking President Donald Trump for accepting his invitation to visit India along with his family, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the ties between the two countries is ‘people-driven and people centric.’

“Today, we discussed every important aspect of US-India partnership, be it defence and security, energy strategic partnership, trade or people to people ties. The strengthening in defence ties between India and US is an important aspect of our partnership,’’ PM Modi said while addressing a joint press conference with the visiting US leader.

India and the US also inked three MoUs, including one in the energy sector, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that the two countries have decided to take ”Indo-US ties to comprehensive global partnership level.”

“The unprecedented and historic welcome given to President Trump in India will be long remembered,’’ PM Modi said and added that ”the relations between the two countries are not merely confined to governments but are people-driven.’’

“Defence cooperation between two countries is reflective of rising strategic partnership between India and US. We also agreed on a new mechanism to contain drug trafficking” the Prime Minister said.

“The most important foundation of the special relationship between India and the US is people to people contact. Professionals, students, the Indian diaspora in US have a major contribution in this. ur commerce ministers have had positive talks on trade. Both of us have decided that our teams should give legal shape to these trade talks. We also agreed to open negotiations on a big trade deal,” the PM said.

In his speech, the PM also informed that the two great democracies of the world have resolved to combat terrorism and hold those who promote it responsible for it. We (India and the US) resolved to step up efforts to make those, who support terrorism, responsible for it,” the PM said.

In his brief remarks at the start of official talks, PM Modi welcomed the US President and thanked him for taking time out for the visit to India. President Trump, on his turn, said the last two days in India were ”amazing”, especially the event at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad.

“It was a great honour for me. I would imagine they (the people) were there maybe more for you than for me… 125,000 people were inside. Every time I mentioned your name, there were cheers. People love you,” Trump told PM Modi in front of the media.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump earlier held extensive talks at the Hyderabad House covering the entire spectrum of bilateral ties, including the key areas of defence, security, and trade and investment.

Earlier, Trump was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Modi welcomed Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The US President also received a tri-services guard of honour at the presidential palace.

The Trumps, who also paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial Rajghat here, arrived in Ahmedabad around noon on Monday for the first leg of their 36-hour India visit.