Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pledged on Saturday that the United States and India would be "best friends" if he is elected as president. Calling India a "key strategic ally", Trump said the two countries will have a phenomenal future together.
He will give a boost to "intelligence sharing with India in the battle against Islamic militants", international agency Reuters quoted him as saying.
Amid contoversy over sexual harassment charges following his sexist remarks, Trump was speaking at an event sponsored by the Republican Hindu Coalition to raise money for "victims of terrorism".
The event featured Bollywood-style performers who danced in colourful, traditional costumes, Reuters reported. This was for the first time that a US presidential nominee attended an Indian-American event.
"If I'm elected president, the Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House, that I can guarantee you," Trump said.
"We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism when I'm president. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with India in sharing intelligence and keeping our people safe mutually."
The real estate tycoon, who has two large development projects in India, further added saying: "We are for free trade. We will have good trade deals with other countries. We are going to do a lot of business with India."
The Republican nominee also showered praises on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking "India on a fast track growth with a series of economic reforms and reforming bureaucracy", saying it was required in the US too, PTI reported.
"I look forward to working with Prime Minister Modi who has been very energetic in reforming the economy and bureaucracy. Great man. I applaud him," Trump said.
"I am a big fan of Hindu and I am a big fan of India. If elected, the Indian and Hindu community would have a true friend at the White House," Trump said at the event organised for the Kashmiri Pundits and Bangladeshi Hindu terrorist victims.
"I have two massive developments in India, very successful, wonderful, wonderful partners, very beautiful, I must say. I have great friends and great confidence in India. Incredible people and an incredible country. I was there 19 months ago and look forward to going there many many times," he said.