Trump urges India to ‘promote peace’ in South Asia

US President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for a ‘Namaste Trump,’ event at Sardar Patel Stadium, in Ahmedabad, India. (AP Photo)
Short Url
Updated 24 February 2020

Trump urges India to ‘promote peace’ in South Asia

  • Trump said India had an important leadership role to play in shaping a better future as it took on greater responsibility in solving problems and promoting peace
  • Trump also praised India’s neighbor Pakistan for cracking down on terror and militants, saying the US had a very good relationship with Pakistan

NEW DELHI:  US President Donald Trump called on New Delhi to play the role of peacemaker in South Asia and work toward resolving conflicts, while also praising the country for its “syncretic and tolerant nature.”
The president, who made the remarks on the first day of his first official visit to India, was addressing a crowd of nearly 150,000 in the western city of Ahmedabad on Monday. The “Namaste Trump” event was held at a newly built cricket stadium.
He said India had an important leadership role to play in shaping a better future as it took on greater responsibility in solving problems and promoting peace in the “incredible” region.
“Your nation has been admired because Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Christians worship side by side,” he said. “India’s unity is an inspiration to the world.”
But in the same breath he also praised India’s neighbor Pakistan for cracking down on terror and militants, saying the US had a very good relationship with Pakistan. Islamabad’s drive against terror groups meant there were signs of “big progress” with Pakistan. “We are hopeful for reduced tensions, greater stability and the future of harmony for all the nations of South Asia,” he added.
After landing in Ahmedabad, which is the capital of Gujarat and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, on Monday morning, Trump and his family traveled to the Gandhi Ashram, the house of India’s founding father Mahatma Gandhi, to pay tribute to the country’s famous freedom fighter.
From there the president was given a tour of the cricket stadium on the outskirts of the city where both Trump and Modi addressed the gathering.
Thousands of people lined the 20 km stretch between the airport and the stadium. They had come from different parts of the country to welcome the visiting dignitary.
“America loves India, America respects India and America would always be the loyal friend of India,” Trump said in his opening remarks to a cheering crowd.
There was an unmistakable camaraderie between Modi and Trump, who greeted each other as friends at the event and took turns in showering praise on each other.
Trump said: “Modi, you are not just the pride of Gujarat, but you are a living example that with hard work Indians can achieve anything they want.”
Modi said: “India-US relations are no longer just another partnership. It is a far greater and closer relationship. One is land of the free, the other believes the world is one family. India and the USA are natural partners. Not only in Indo-Pacific but in the whole world we can provide peace. Trump brings an opportunity to India,” he added.
In his 30-minute speech, Trump said that he would sign a defense deal worth $3 billion in New Delhi on Tuesday, adding that both sides were committed to defend their citizens from radical Islamic terrorism.
He also hoped that India and the US would sign a “fantastic trade deal” in the near future.
Trump’s family visited the Taj Mahal in Agra on Monday evening. On Tuesday, Modi and Trump are expected to hold bilateral talks and sign a number of agreements. The president is being accompanied by his wife, daughter and son-in-law.
Experts told Arab News that while they believed Trump was showing greater bonhomie toward Modi, the US leader was concerned that New Delhi was not fully pulling its weight in South Asia.
“Washington is clearly concerned that New Delhi is not acting as a peacemaker in South Asia and not playing a role of big brother in South Asia where it should be trying to bridge differences between nations,” Prof. Siddiq Wahid, of Shiv Nadar University, told Arab News. “Trump’s statement also indicates that the US considers India not as a big Asian player but limits its role as a South Asia player by asking it to play a role of peacemaker in the region.”
Pranay Kotasthane, from the Takshashila Institution, said Trump had avoided mentioning “prickly issues” for the Modi government.
But the president’s positive remarks on Pakistan showed that he needed the help of India’s rival for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan to happen, he added.
The US and the Taliban are expected to sign a peace deal on Feb. 29 after 18 months of intense negotiations. A major part of the deal is the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

Related


Coronavirus worst crisis since Second World War, UN boss says as deaths surge

Updated 01 April 2020

Coronavirus worst crisis since Second World War, UN boss says as deaths surge

  • Around half of the planet’s population is under some form of lockdown
  • Lockdowns remain at the forefront of official disease-stopping arsenals — a strategy increasingly borne-out by science

WASHINGTON: The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued to worsen Wednesday despite unprecedented lockdowns, as the head of the United Nations sounded the alarm on what he said was humanity’s worst crisis since World War II.
The warning came as Donald Trump told Americans to brace for a “very painful” few weeks after the United States registered its deadliest 24 hours of the crisis.
Around half of the planet’s population is under some form of lockdown as governments struggle to halt the spread of a disease that has now infected more than 850,000 people.
Well over 40,000 are known to have died, half of them in Italy and Spain, but the death toll continues to rise with new records being logged daily in the US.
“This is going to be a very painful — a very, very painful — two weeks,” Trump said, describing the pandemic as “a plague.”
“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead.”
America’s outbreak has mushroomed rapidly. There are now around 190,000 known cases — a figure that has doubled in just five days.
On Tuesday, a record 865 people died, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, taking the national toll so far to more than 4,000.
Members of Trump’s coronavirus task force said the country should be ready for between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths in the coming months.
“As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it,” Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
America’s under-pressure health system is being supplemented by field hospitals sprouting up all over New York, including a tented camp in Central Park, a hospital ship and converted convention centers.
But even with the extended capacity, doctors say they are still having to make painful choices.
“If you get a surge of patients coming in, and you only have a limited number of ventilators, you can’t necessarily ventilate patients,” Shamit Patel of the Beth Israel hospital said. “And then you have to start picking and choosing.”
The extraordinary economic and political upheaval spurred by the virus presents a real danger to the relative peace the world has seen over the last few decades, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday.
The “disease ... represents a threat to everybody in the world and... an economic impact that will bring a recession that probably has no parallel in the recent past.”
“The combination of the two facts and the risk that it contributes to enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict are things that make us believe that this is the most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War,” he said.
In virtual talks Tuesday, finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s 20 major economies pledged to address the debt burden of low-income countries and deliver aid to emerging markets.
Last week G20 leaders said they were injecting $5 trillion into the global economy to head off a feared deep recession.
In the European Union, however, battle lines have been drawn over the terms of a rescue plan.
Worst-hit Italy and Spain are leading a push for a shared debt instrument — dubbed “coronabonds.”
But talk of shared debt is a red line for Germany and other northern countries, threatening to divide the bloc.
Deaths shot up again across Europe. While there are hopeful signs that the spread of infections is slowing in hardest-hit Italy and Spain, which both reported more than 800 new deaths Tuesday.
France recorded a one-day record of 499 dead while Britain reported 381 coronavirus deaths, including that of a previously healthy 13-year-old.
That came after a 12-year-old Belgian girl succumbed to an illness that is serious chiefly for older, frailer people with pre-existing health conditions.
Lockdowns remain at the forefront of official disease-stopping arsenals — a strategy increasingly borne-out by science.
Researchers said China’s decision to shutter Wuhan, ground zero for the global COVID-19 pandemic, may have prevented three-quarters of a million new cases by delaying the spread of the virus.
“Our analysis suggests that without the Wuhan travel ban and the national emergency response there would have been more than 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of Wuhan” by mid-February, said Oxford University’s Christopher Dye.