October 15, 2016 - 6:22 PM
EDISON, N.J. - Donald Trump says that, if he's elected to the White House, there won't be any relationship more important to the U.S. than its relationship with India.
Trump says at a Republican Hindu Coalition fundraiser Saturday night that "under a Trump admiration we are going to become even better friends."
He adds: "In fact, I'll take the word 'even' out because we are going to be best friends. There won't be any relationship more important to us."
Trump also praises Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "great man" and says he looks forward to deepening diplomatic and military ties with India.
The event features colorful performances by popular Bollywood singers and dancers.
"I am a big fan of Hindu and I am a big fan of India. Big, big fan," Trump declared to the cheering crowd after participating in a traditional Diya oil lamp lighting for good luck.
Trump said that if he's elected, the Indian and Hindu communities will have "a true friend" in the White House. He also talked about several projects his company has been involved with in the country.
Trump, who usually portrays himself as an "American First" candidate, also spoke about the two countries' shared goals when it comes to fighting terrorism and mentioned the 2008 bombings in Mumbai. He called Mumbai "a place that l love" and "a place that I understand."
Trump did not, however, mention a top issue for the Indian community: H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers. He has sent mixed messages on the program, which critics complain takes jobs away from U.S. citizens.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016