Asserting India’s non-partisan stand to domestic American politics, external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the term “Abki baar, Trump sarkar” in the Houston rally, merely referring to what the US president had used to endear himself to the Indian American community during his presidential campaign.
Currently on a three-day trip to Washington DC, Jaishankar strongly refuted the notion that the Prime Minister used the phrase to endorse Trump’s candidature for his 2020 re-election campaign.
“No, he did not say that,” the minister said when asked during a news conference with Indian journalists about the implication of the Prime Minister purportedly using the slogan in his Houston address.
“I think, please, look very carefully at what the Prime Minister said. My recollection of what the Prime Minister said was that candidate Trump had used this (“Abki baar, Trump sarkar”). So PM is talking about the past.
“I don’t think we should, honestly, misinterpret what was said. I don’t think you’re doing a good service to anybody,” Jaishankar said in response to the question.
Addressing a mammoth crowd of more than 50,000 Indian-Americans in Houston on September 22, Modi said that “we in India have connected well” with Trump.
“The words of candidate Trump, “Abki baar, Trump sarkar”, rang loud and clear. And his celebration of Diwali in the House — White House — lit up millions of faces with joy and appreciation,” Modi had said amidst thunderous applause from the audience.
Soon thereafter the opposition Congress party in India accused Prime Minister Modi of endorsing Trump’s candidate. The ruling BJP has denied this.
“I mean, he (Modi) was pretty clear what he was talking about. He was saying, this is what you said as a candidate, which showed that you were trying to, (connect with India and its people even as a candidate),” Jaishankar said, urging the journalist to be accurate.
“We have a very nonpartisan (approach to domestics US politics). So, our sort of approach to whatever happens in this country is their politics, not our politics,” Jaishankar said.