United States President Donald Trump has lauded India for achieving astounding growth and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to bring together the country as one.
"India is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its independence. It is a sovereign democracy, as well as -- think of this -- over 1 billion people. It's the largest democracy in the world. (Applause.)
"Since India opened its economy, it has achieved astounding growth and a new world of opportunity for its expanding middle class," Trump said at a gathering of CEOs on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit here in Vietnam.
"And Prime Minister Modi has been working to bring that vast country, and its entire people, together as one. And he is working at it very, very successfully, indeed," he added.
Trump noted that countries outside of APEC were making great strides in this new chapter for the Indo-Pacific.
Trump and Prime Minister Modi are scheduled to attend the East Asia Summit beginning next week.
Trump's daughter and White House advisor Ivanka Trump will be attending the annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad.
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) is the pre-eminent global entrepreneurship gathering, and it is being co-hosted by the U.S. and Indian governments in Hyderabad for 2017.
Incidentally, Mr Modi is leaving for the Philippines on Sunday to attend the Asean-India and East Asia summits on November 14. Mr Trump is also scheduled to attend the East Asia summit, a key meeting between Asean and eight of its partners. Mr Modi and President Trump are expected to meet on the sidelines in a bilateral meeting.
On the Asia-Pacific region which the US is now referring to increasingly as the “Indo-Pacific” region following growing strategic ties with India, President Trump was quoted as saying, “We have been friends, partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific for a long, long time. The story of this region in recent decades is the story of what is possible when people take ownership of their future.”
The use of the term Indo-Pacific by President Trump has also led to speculation that it may have something to do with Washington preparing the ground for a Japanese proposal on a “Quadrilateral” strategic alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India which is apparently being put together to counter China’s rise.
China has reportedly reacted cautiously over a proposal by the Trump administration for a working-level quadrilateral meeting with India, Japan and Australia, saying Beijing hopes that it would not target or damage a “third party’s interest”.
In his address, Mr Trump also praised countries like Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Japan, and also briefly touched on the bloody history of the Vietnam war, in which Da Nang was a key battlefield. “Today we are no longer enemies, we are friends,” Mr Trump said.