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Trump lauds PM Modi as ‘great leader, loyal friend’ on his 70th birthday

US President Donald Trump greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 70th birthday, praising him as a “great leader and loyal friend”.

Trump was among a host of world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who wished Modi on his birthday and lauded him for strengthening ties with their countries.

“I would like to extend best wishes and a very happy 70th birthday to the Prime Minister of India, @narendramodi. Many happy returns to a GREAT LEADER and loyal friend!” Trump tweeted on Thursday.

“Thank you @POTUS @realDonaldTrump for your warm wishes. The friendship between our nations is strong and is a force for good for the entire humanity,” Modi responded in a tweet on Friday.

Trump also posted a photograph of him and First lady Melania Trump with Prime Minister Modi at the ‘Namaste Trump’ event. The two leaders had their hands raised and clenched before a 1,25,000-strong crowd who had gathered to welcome the US president on his first India visit at Motera cricket stadium in Ahmedabad in February this year.

At the event, Prime Minister Modi had said that a “new history” was being created. Modi and Trump enjoy a “special relationship” and have been working on a number of regional and global issues.

They frequently talk over the phone and the countries have had an unprecedented level of cooperation even during the coronavirus pandemic.

India supplied hydroxychloroquine to the US in the early stages of the pandemic and Trump ordered ventilators to India. The two countries are also collaborating on the development of vaccines and therapeutics.

On Thursday, Lisa Curtis, the deputy assistant to the US president, told a top American think-tank the Trump administration has elevated the relationship with India and solidified the growing partnership “in ways not seen in any other US administration”.

“The joint statement signed by President Trump and PM Modi following the Trumps’ visit to India in February is testament to this administration’s commitment to building this vital partnership,” Curtis said.

“Whether we are talking about increasing collaboration to develop therapeutics and vaccines to combat COVID-19; increasing defence cooperation, such as India’s recent decision to purchase US multi-role and attack helicopters worth $3 billion; or enhancing collaboration on cybersecurity, the US-India relationship has never been better,” she said.