Shashi Tharoor, Ahmed Patel, other Congress leaders rally behind Modi, call Donald Trump's Afghanistan library jibe 'unacceptable'

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday called US president Donald Trump's Afghanistan "library" jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi "completely unacceptable" and asked the government to remind America of India's assistance to Afghanistan.

Trump took a jibe at Modi for funding a "library" in Afghanistan, saying it is of no use in the war-torn country. He also criticised India and others for not doing enough for the land-locked nation's security.

Reacting to Trump's Afghanistan library jibe, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said, "Tenor and tone of the US president describing the Prime Minister of India is not in good taste and is completely unacceptable."

Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said India does not need sermons from the US on Afghanistan.

"Under Dr Manmohan Singh, India helped build Afghan National Assembly. Humanitarian needs to strategic economic partnership, we are one with our Afghani brothers & sisters," he said.

Though the US has been pressing India to send troops to Afghanistan, a demand repeatedly rejected by New Delhi, this is the first time the US administration has publicly mocked India's developmental works in the strife-torn country.

In his first Cabinet meeting of the year on Wednesday, Trump asked India, Russia, Pakistan and other neighbouring countries to take responsibility for the security of Afghanistan, where he has ordered a troop reduction over an unspecified timetable.

Trump in his comments to his Cabinet colleagues referred to Prime Minister Modi as an example of how world leaders are talking about their contributions that were nowhere near the "billions of dollars" the US was spending.

In his remarks, Trump said, "I could give you an example where I get along very well with India and Prime Minister Modi. But he is constantly telling me, he built a library in Afghanistan. Library! That's like five hours of what we spend (in Afghanistan)."

"And he (Modi) tells me. He is very smart. We are supposed to say, oh thank you for the library. Don't know who's using it (the library) in Afghanistan. But it's one of those things. I don't like being taken advantage of," he said.

"I say this, India. (I have) great relationship with Prime Minister Modi. He is a great gentleman and a great man and he's done a fantastic job. He has brought the country together," Trump said.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said Trump's "derisive comment" is a "stinging indictment" of the BJP government's failure to convince the US of India's bona fide credentials in Afghanistan.

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Updated Date: Jan 04, 2019 11:17:48 IST

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