US President Donald Trump on Sunday vowed to protect innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism and said border security is vital to both America and India as he emphasised on bolstering further the Indo-US security relationship.
Addressing a record crowd of 50,000 Indian-Americans at the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event at the packed NRG stadium in Houston in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Trump said the two countries will soon sign several defence deals to bolster their relationship.
The president said over the last decade, India and US’ defence cooperation has reached USD 18 billion.
“We are committed to protect innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism,” the US president said.
“India and the US also understand that to keep our community safe, we must protect our borders. Border security is vital to the United States. Border Security is vital to India. And we understand that,” Trump said as Prime Minister Modi was seen clapping.
India accuses Pakistan of providing safe haven to terror groups, which carry out attacks in the neighbouring countries.
“We are further taking unprecedented action to secure our southern border (with Mexico) and stop illegal immigration,” Trump said while the crowed cheered.
He said illegal immigration is unfair to legal immigrants who pay taxes and obey laws.
During his nearly 25-minute speech, Trump praised Modi’s economic reforms and said these reforms have lifted more than three million people out of poverty.
“And that is an incredible number,” he added.
“Together we will continue to deepen our ties, advance cutting edge technology and lift millions and millions out of poverty,” Trump said.
“In both India and the US, we’re seeing something remarkable: Our people are prospering like never before because we are slashing bureaucracy and cutting red tape,” Trump said.
“India has never had a better friend in the White House than President Donald Trump. My administration fights for you every day,” Trump said.
He then praised his own administration’s economic record, which he said created 70,000 new Texas manufacturing jobs.
“Unemployment in Texas is currently at the lowest rate ever recorded in the history of our country, and unemployment in the United States has just reached the lowest level in over 51 years,” he said.
He said that over the last two years, unemployment among Indian-Americans dropped by one-third.
Noting that the US is the No 1 producer of oil and natural gas on the planet, Trump said he was thrilled to hear about the Indian company’s pledge to purchase up to 5 million tonnes of LNG a year from the US, which could lead to billions of dollars of LNG exports to India in the coming years.”
“India has never invested in the United States like it’s doing today,” Trump said, adding “I want to say, it’s reciprocal, because we’re doing the same in India.”
Trump said in November the US and India will demonstrate dramatic progress of their defence relationship, holding the first-ever trilateral-service military exercise between our nations - ‘Tiger Triumph’.
“Prime Minister Modi and I have come to Houston to celebrate everything that defines the India-America relationship,” Trump said.
He described PM Modi as “a great man, a great leader and my friend.”
The US president also praised the contributions of the Indian-Americans, saying they have enriched “our culture and uplifted our values. We are proud to have them as Americans."