By Arul Louis
New York, March 14 (IANS) In the midst of dealing with the declaration of a national emergency to fight the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, US President Donald Trump has recalled his “incredible two days” in India last month and said that he “loved being with” Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said on Friday, “We had a great time in India. It was an incredible two days and Modi is a great friend of mine and a friend of his people because he was greeted incredibly warmly as was I in that stadium. That was an incredible event.”
“Say hello to him,” he added.
He shared his recollections of the visit during a news conference to announce the declaration of a national emergency to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
A reporter asked him if he had been in touch with Modi over the coronavirus pandemic and about India closing its border as a preventive measure against the disease.
Trump did not say specifically if they had spoken recently about COVID-19 or closing of borders.
“But we talked about everything we talked far more than just borders,” he said.
Trump and Modi spoke to a crowd of about 129,000 people at the Sardar Patel Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad on February 24, which was a salve to Trump who had been battered by the impeachment process and he has spoken of it several times after his return.
Trump said that US pharmaceutical companies that were helping fight the coronavirus were working with India companies.
He avoided criticism of China or its leaders while replying to the part of the reporter’s question about that country and its response and asserted that China’s President Xi Jinping is also his friend like Modi.
He said, “President Xi likewise is a friend of mine, I believe we are dealing in good faith.” .
Referring to the recent first phase of a trade agreement reached between Washington and Beijing, he said, “We have worked an incredible deal, big deal, one of the biggest deal ever made of any kind. Big even by the standards of some of the people here who deal with China.”
“But I think that they want to get to the bottom of things real soon,” about the possibility of a comprehensive trade deal.
About the international links of US companies dealing with the coronavirus crisis, he said, “We are working on drug companies; our pharmaceutical companies are working very closely with China and with India, as you know, and with all over the world.”
He added, “These are magnificent companies that are very very knowledgeable and we are very lucky to have them because they are going to come up with, whether it is therapeutic or whether it is just health, help in getting better and ultimately a vaccine which take a little bit longer because of the test periods and a couple of other reasons. You can have it very quickly because of the great knowledge They will have it very quickly. They have made tremendous amount of progress.”
(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected])