India's opposition Congress party politician P. Chidambaram on Thursday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking whether he would hold another "Namaste Trump" rally with his "dear friend" Donald Trump, especially after the US president accused India of fudging its COVID-19 death toll.
Mr Donald Trump clubs India with China and Russia and accused the three countries of hiding the number of COVID deaths— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) October 1, 2020
He also accused the three countries for causing the most air pollution.
Will Mr Modi hold another ‘Namaste Trump!’ rally to honour his dear friend?
Speaking during the first presidential debate on 29 September ahead of the 3 November election, US President Trump claimed that no one knows "the real" death toll from the coronavirus in India, Russia, and China as he was defending his handling of the pandemic.
While India has reported 98,678 deaths so far, the United States has seen the highest number of deaths at 211,752. Russia has reported 20,722 deaths and China 4,634. All of the three countries have said that they are completely transparent about their COVID-19 statistics, which is available on open sources.
Chidambaram further drew a parallel between Trump and Modi by quoting the former's jab at his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
"In 47 months I have done more than you have in 47 years”, said Donald Trump in the presidential debate yesterday. "If the statement reminds you of someone in India, that’s your imagination!" Chidambaram said.
Indian Prime Minister Modi echoed similar rhetoric on several occasions during his re-election campaign in 2019, saying his 60-month tenure was more worthy than the 60 years of work by the opposition party, Congress.
India and the United States have recently been displaying increased affinity towards each other, with Trump and Modi developing a special relationship: earlier this year, POTUS travelled to India together with his family and advisers.
This is not the first time that Trump has addressed India's handling of the pandemic. Previously, POTUS has said that while the US is doing "very well" in containing the pandemic, big countries like India are having a "tremendous problem" in managing the outbreak.
While India has the second highest coronavirus caseload in the world with 6,312,584, with 940,705 active cases, the United States tops the list with the greatest number of cases in the world at 7,447,693.