New Delhi: US President Donald Trump allegedly joked he could play matchmaker for Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his aides told him that Modi has been estranged from his wife for several years, according to report in Politico.
Trump made the joke ahead of his meeting with Modi at the White House last year. After the US President’s staffers told him that Modi would not be bringing his wife to the meeting, he allegedly joked, “Ah, I think I can set him up with somebody,” the report quoted “two people briefed on the meeting” as saying.
According to the report, Trump also displayed a lack of familiarity about countries surrounding India and mispronounced their names. While studying a map of South Asia to prepare for the meeting, he reportedly called Nepal “nipple” and Bhutan “button”.
Two unnamed sources said Trump did not even know these nations existed. “He didn’t know what those were. He thought it was all part of India. He was like, ‘What is this stuff in between and these other countries?’” a source told Politico.
Trump’s joke about playing matchmaker is not the first he has made at Modi’s expense. According to a report in the Washington Post, he often used an Indian accent to imitate Modi in his conversations about US policy in Afghanistan.
"Senior administration officials said that the president has been known to affect an Indian accent and imitate Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi," the Post had reported.
Ties between India and the United States have been tense in the past few months because of clashes on trade and the threat of sanctions over India’s import of Iranian oil and a defence deal with Russia.
The United States had also postponed a diplomatic dialogue with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman without giving any reason. It is now scheduled for September 6.
Modi has invited Trump to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade on January 26 but the US President has not accepted yet.