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Posted at: Nov 14, 2017, 1:57 AM; last updated: Nov 14, 2017, 9:52 AM (IST)

We’ll try to fulfil expectations: PM

Modi assures US, world of India’s role; Trump says ‘he’s become friend of ours’

Smita Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 13

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a 45-minute discussion with US President Donald Trump in Manila on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit. 

Edit: Modi in Manila

In his opening remarks before the meeting, Modi said, “India-US ties are becoming broader and deeper and you too can feel that ties can work together beyond the interest of India, for the future of Asia and for the welfare of humanity in the world.” Modi added, “I also assure that India will try its best to fulfil the expectations that the US and the world has from it.”

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Donald Trump too struck an upbeat tone, calling Narendra Modi a friend. “We’ve had him at the White House, and he’s become a friend of ours and a great gentleman doing a fantastic job in bringing around lots of factions in India — bringing them all together,” Trump said. 

The meeting comes a day after the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between India, the US, Australia and Japan was revived officially with focus on the Indo-Pacific and China’s aggression in the region.

The White House, in its official release, said, “The two leaders discussed the comprehensive strategic partnership between the United States and India and their shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

Trump had earlier on Sunday praised the Indian Prime Minister on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Vietnam as he spoke of India’s “astounding growth” and its middle class expansion.

Trade, economics,  the Indo-Pacific region and the upcoming India visit of Trump’s adviser and daughter Ivanka for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit were the key issues. “Terrorism also came up, particularly in context of the region west of India, all the way till the Middle East,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said. In the official release issued by the White House though, there was no mention of terrorism. 

“They pledged to enhance their cooperation as major defence partners, resolving that two of the world’s great democracies should also have the world’s greatest militaries,” the White House release added.

Meanwhile, during his first official visit to Philippines, PM Modi also met Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. The two agreed on the need to combat the scourge of terrorism and the two sides signed four agreements, including on defence and logistic cooperation. 

Later, addressing the Indian diaspora, Modi spoke about the emotional and cultural ties that bind India and the ASEAN countries. 

In a politically laced message, he promoted the government’s initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Jan Dhan Yojana.

 He also hit out at the Opposition back home, claiming that now when NRIs go to work in Philippines, they no longer “fear the shame of negative news coming from India, as now India only makes positive news”.

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