Since he took office in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invested a significant amount of time and energy into managing foreign affairs. It seems some of that had paid of. Using accounts from officials in the United State’s government, a report in a the Washington Post details how US President Trump takes Modi’s word rather seriously when it comes to one of his country’s most intractable foreign affairs problems: the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan as part of the “War on Terror”.
In 2017, Modi met Trump in the United States, telling the US President bluntly, “Never has a country given so much away for so little in return” as the United States in Afghanistan.
The US President took this advice rather seriously. The Washington Post reported that Trump saw this as proof that the rest of the world saw the US invasion of Afghanistan as a mistake in which Washington was being “duped and taken advantage of”.
However, even as this anecdote raises Modi’s stature as a serious global politician, it delivers another blow to Trump’s image. In meetings, Trump relays back Modi’s words while mimicking an Indian accent.
US President Trump is known for a series of gaffes and out rightly offensive comments that have polarised politics in the country. Doing immigrant accents would be considered racist by many within the United States.
Trump and Modi’s mutual regard for each other was on public display during Modi’s 2017 visit to the US. Trump called Modi his “true friend” while Trump’s business experience was described as “vast and successful” by the Indian prime minister.
Given the right wing ideological similarities between Trump and Modi, in India, the BJP and its supporters have often used their bonhomie to drive home a political point. On Friday, the BJP’s chief minister of Uttar Pradesh claimed that Trump was even inspired by Modi’s development work in India and planned to work for the United States’ development along similar lines.