WASHINGTON: A warm welcome complete with firm handshakes and broad smiles greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as US President Donald J Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walked him into the White House in Washington DC on their first meeting on Monday.
- President Trump congratulated PM Modi for the great job that he had done
- PM Narendra Modi received a red carpet welcome at the White House
- PM Modi hugged the US President after their statements to the Press
PM Modi, who invited the Trump family to visit India, later topped his invitation with a hug at the end of their Press statements. And then, there was a second hug before PM Modi left the White House. "There was visible chemistry between the two leaders," Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar later said.
Through their two meetings, there was a clear attempt by both leaders to develop a warm relationship that focussed on the convergence of interests rather than magnify differences over immigration and the Paris climate pact.
Well before the two leaders met, Indian officials had attempted to keep expectations from the discussions at a modest level, stressing how this visit - the two leaders spent over four hours together in different settings - was more about getting to know each other for the leaders of the two largest democracies. "If the chemistry is good, everything else gets sorted," a senior official said, according to Reuters.
As the two leaders sat down for their meeting at the Oval Office, President Trump, who had described PM Modi as a "true friend" on Twitter, noted that PM Modi had been such a great prime minister. "Economically, India is doing very well," the President said, congratulating PM Modi for the "great job" that he was doing back home.
PM Modi expressed gratitude to President Trump and the First Lady for the warm welcome extended to him. The welcome extended to him was a welcome to 125 crore people of India, he said.
PM Modi also recalled how President Trump had back in 2014, long before he joined the presidential race, had spoken well of him in a media interview. "I still remember them," he said, turning to President Trump in front of the cameras.
"When he was asked about me, he said was full of very warm remarks and observations about me," PM Modi said, referring to real estate tycoon's India visit to Mumbai and Pune when he was reported to have described PM Modi's performance as amazing.
The one-on-one meeting in the Oval office was followed by delegation level talks between the two sides in the Cabinet Room. In a last-minute change of plans, the two leaders did not take a question from the reporters after the two leaders read out their statements.