US President Donald Trump is not a happy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For the second time in two weeks, Trump complained about India’s tariffs on the import of motorcycles. This time, however, Trump mimicked Modi’s ‘namaste’ while delivering his complaint.
Trump had on February 14, complained during a meeting with US lawmakers that India’s tariff on the import of American motorcycles – specifically Harley-Davidsons – was too high. He returned to the complaint on Monday.
“When I spoke to PM (Modi) he said we are lowering it to 50% but so far we are getting nothing. He gets 50%, he thinks, he is doing us a favour, but that is not a favour,” complained Trump at a meeting of the governors of US states at the White House.
“I wasn’t sure – he said it so beautifully. He’s a beautiful man. And he said, ‘I just want to inform you that we have reduced it to 75, but we have further reduced it to 50’. And I said, huh. What do I say? Am I supposed to be thrilled?” said Trump, imitating Modi by holding his palms in a ‘namste’ and speaking in a low and serious voice.
Thankfully, the insults stopped there and he did not do his ‘Indian accent’ this time.
Trump had earlier threatened to descend to an ‘eye-for-an-eye’ solution to the impasse over the import tariff on American motorcycles in India. He had threatened to impose a reciprocal tariff on the import on India-made motorcycles in the US.
Trump is no stranger to making threats to other countries when it comes to trade, and complaining that every country on earth takes advantage of the US. He had done so throughout his campaign, against China for instance. But he is not known for following up on his threats, and has done little to bring his threats to fruition so far.
Trump’s complaining and threatening against India on the issue of motorcycle import tariffs is part of his blow-hot-blow-cold relationship with the Asian giant. He is as prone to hyperbolic praise of New Delhi as he is to complaining about it, as seen by his blaming India and China for the US pulling out of its commitments to the Paris climate accord.