Donald Trump and Narendra Modi have traded praise in a show of a strengthening US-India friendship at the rock concert-like “Howdy, Modi!” rally in Texas over the weekend.
The pair walked hand-in-hand to the stage before Modi introduced Trump as “my friend, a friend of India, a great American president”. Trump returned the compliment, calling his counterpart “one of America’s greatest, most devoted and most loyal friends.”
Their bromance has been gaining traction ever since Donald Trump took office; the two had an emotional moment when they famously hugged it out during Modi’s visit to Washington in June 2017.
Relations between the United States and India are stronger than ever before, Trump said on Sunday, citing investments and cooperation in security and the energy sector, as well as the first-ever NBA match that will be played in India in October.
A Middle Eastern Confidante
India’s prime minister is not the only politician to put his camaraderie with Trump on full display. Perhaps the first name that comes to mind when listing Trump’s trusted friends is Benjamin Netanyahu.
The two have taken the traditionally close US-Israel friendship to an unprecedented level, with the US president relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the disputed Golan Heights. Netanyahu has returned the favour and named a Golan Heights settlement after his Washington friend.
Their relationship will likely suffer a setback if Netanyahu is ousted from power by the opposition in the coming days, but will still go down in history as one of the closest ever in the two states’ history. “The Jewish State has never had a greater friend in the White House,” Netanyahu himself said of Trump earlier in September.
A Thaw With North Korea
In stark contrast to the policies of his predecessors, Donald Trump became the first US president to meet a North Korean head of state last year, when he met with Kim Jong-un. Their personal relationship got off to a rocky start, with the two leaders trading all kinds of barbs, but they eventually managed to set up two summits.
They exchanged a momentous handshake at Singapore talks in June 2018, and Trump made history a year later as he briefly stepped into the northern side of the military demarcation line that divides North and South Korea.
Washington and Pyongyang have so far failed to follow through on their commitment to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, with nuclear talks stalled at the moment, but a third summit could help them revitalise the chemistry.
A Fading Bromance in France
On the contrary, Trump’s relations with France’s Emmanuel Macron were initially marked by camaraderie but later became tenser due to differences over various issues.
The two presidents were seen on several occasions exchanging extended and sometimes intense handshakes. Last April, during Macron’s visit to the United States, Trump lavished the French president with praise, while the latter planted an oak tree on the White House lawn as a symbol of strong ties between their countries.
Since then, the two presidents have branched out in different directions over Trump’s hardline Iran stand, Macron’s plans to create a European military, and climate change.
The oak tree died in the summer in what many saw as an unfortunate metaphor.