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He's my friend, I like him very much: Trump said about Modi

September 11, 2018 22:53 IST

Woodward writes in his new book that Modi wanted to go to Camp David, the picturesque presidential resort, to dine and develop a personal bond with Trump.

United States President Donald Trump described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his friend who told him that the US has got nothing out of Afghanistan, according to Bob Woodward's latest book that hit stores on Tuesday.

'Prime Minister Modi of India is a friend of mine, he (Trump) said. I like him very much,' Trump is quoted as saying by renowned journalist Woodward in his book Fear: Trump in the White House which has portrayed a dysfunctional Trump administration.

The book has caused controversy as it reportedly portrays Trump as chaotic, mercurial and uninformed.

The White House has described the book as 'reckless' and a work of fiction with the president calling it a 'joke'.

 

According to Woodward, Trump made this comment during a Situation Room meeting in the White House on July 19 last year, nearly three weeks after he had a very successful meeting with Modi at the White House on June 26.

'He (Modi) told me the US has gotten nothing out of Afghanistan. Nothing. Afghanistan has massive mineral wealth. We don't take it like others -- like China,' Trump is quoted as saying during the July 19 situation room meeting.

'The US needed to get some of Afghanistan's valuable minerals in exchange for any support. I'm not making a deal on anything until we get minerals. And the US 'must stop payments to Pakistan until they cooperate',' Trump said.

Six months later Trump in a new year tweet on January 1 announced to stop all military aid to Pakistan arguing that it is not taking action against terrorist groups operating from its soil.

Trump told his national security aide that US is losing in Afghanistan.

'We're losing big in Afghanistan. It's a disaster. Our allies aren't helping. Ghost soldiers -- those paid but not serving -- are ripping us off. NATO is a disaster and a waste, he said. The soldiers had told him that NATO staff were totally dysfunctional,' the book says.

'Pakistan isn't helping us. They're not really a friend,' despite the $1.3 billion a year in aid the US gave them, Trump said.

Trump refused to send any additional aid. The Afghan leaders were corrupt and making money off the US, Woodward writes in the book.

Woodward also writes that Modi wanted to go to Camp David, the picturesque presidential resort, to dine and develop a personal bond with Trump.

The book has a small segment on India and June 26, 2017 visit of Modi to the White House.

The 448-page book claims to give an insider's account on the White House working and decision-making process in Trump's presidency.

In the book, the then national security advisor H R McMaster is seen as batting for a strong relationship with India.

Ahead of the June 26 visit of Modi, McMaster met with the then White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to prepare for the US visit of the Indian prime minister.

'The prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, who had been courted assiduously by (Barack) Obama, was coming for a visit to the United States in June to see Trump. India was the counterweight to Pakistan, which was giving the new administration as much trouble as it had given previous ones by hedging maddeningly on terrorism.

'Modi wanted to go to Camp David and have dinner, bond with Trump,' Woodward writes in the book.

''It's not in the cards,' Priebus told McMaster. 'We're just going to do dinner here. It's what the president wants.',' Woodward quotes Priebus as saying. This made McMaster angry.

'He (McMaster) understood the strategic importance of India, a sworn enemy of Pakistan. Outreach and strong relations were essential. The later event for Modi was a 'no-frills' cocktail reception. The working dinner was at the White House,' Woodward, the famed investigative journalist, writes in the book.

There was no immediate comments from the Prime Minister's Office.

Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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