New Delhi: Defending Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asserting a non-partisan stand on his Ab ki Baar Trump Sarkar‘ comment, External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyan Jaishankar on Monday said that the PM Modi used the statement, not with a political intention, but to endear himself with the people of Houston.

“I think, please, look very carefully at what the prime minister said. My recollection of what the prime minister said was that candidate Trump had used this (Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar). So PM is talking about the past.” Jaishankar said in response to the question at a news conference in Washington.

“I don’t think we should, honestly, misinterpret what was said. I don’t think you’re doing a good service to anybody,” Jaishankar added.

Earlier, Jaishankar met the United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in Washington, in what happens to be his fourth visit in the past four months. The meeting, that took place at a crucial stage of India’s trade discussions with the US, highlighted discussions on Indo-Pacific issues, counter-terrorism, trade and Afghanistan.

Notably, the External Affairs Minister is on a three-day visit to the US during which he met more than 40 of his counterparts in New York. The meeting also follows the recently concluded week-long US visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Addressing at the Houston rally, the PM had given a twist to BJP’s famous slogan of ‘Ab ki Baar Modi Sarkar’ trying to connect with the 50,000 Indian-Americans gathered at the event.

“The words of candidate Trump, Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar, rang loud and clear. And his celebration of Diwali in the White House lit up millions of faces with joy and appreciation,” Modi had said. His statement had received severe criticism from the opposition parties.

There are serious discussions being held between New Delhi and Washington regarding a limited trade deal between the two countries. However, a deal could not be worked out yet because the two sides were not able to bridge all gaps. The negotiations were mainly centres around a price cap by India on medical equipment, American dairy products, technology and communication gadgets and GSP.

It must also be noted here that tensions between India and the US on the trade front had emerged in June this year after President Donald Trump nullified its preferential trade privileges, as a result of which India imposed tariffs on as many as 28 US products. This was despite President Trump being a “true, warm friendly and accessible” friend of PM Modi’s.

Meanwhile, both Trump and Modi endorsed their friendship at the mega-diaspora event ‘Howdy Modi’ in Houston, Texas that was attended by over 50,000 people, mostly including Indian-Americans. US President Trump is likely to visit India later this year after he hinted the same at the Houston event. Both sides are holding talks on his visit, which will also be Trump’s first visit to India.