Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Saturday called India a key “strategic ally” and said the United States and Delhi will become “best friends” if he is voted to power, reported PTI. The billionaire businessman, who was addressing a crowd of Indian-Americans at a charity event organised by the Republican Hindu Coalition, said, "I am a big fan of Hindu and I am a big fan of India. If I am elected president, the Indian and Hindu community would have a true friend at the White House."

He said, “Under a Trump administration, we are going to become even better friends. In fact, I will take the word even out because we are going to be best friends.”

The 70-year-old politician praised Modi's economic reforms and said, "I look forward to working with Prime Minister Modi." Trump also brought up the topic of terrorism and appreciated India’s role in combating the growing threat of militancy in the region. He promised military cooperation with India and said the US will "share soldier to soldier together" in the fight against terrorism.

Trump said, “Generations of Hindus and Indian Americans have strengthened our country. I was there [in India] 19 months ago and look forward to going there many many times.”

This was the first time a US presidential nominee addressed Indian-Americans just weeks before the election. The event was marked by Hindu rituals like yagna and all Trump's posters also featured him with a red tilak on the forehead. Trump's supporters who attended the event found a lot of similarities between the Republican nominee and Modi, reported The New York Times. One such supporter said that both Modi and Trump have the same punchline. “It is about make India great and make America great again,” he said.

However, the report added that a poll on Asian-Americans’ political leanings conducted in August and September found that only 7% of Indian-Americans said they would vote for the Republican. Trump has recently been mired in several separate allegations of sexual harassment. This came soon after a video of him boasting about groping women was leaked.

The US presidential election will be held on November 8.