First, he equated Indians with Hindus, erasing India’s religious minorities — 172 million Muslims, 28 million Christians, 21 million Sikhs and 8 million Buddhists, among others — from the picture.
Second, he equated his position on Islamic terrorism with that of India’s government. As he put it: “We appreciate the great friend that India has been to the United States in the fight against radical Islamic terrorists . . . we are going to be best friends.”
Third, he equated himself with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I look forward to working with Prime Minister Modi who has been very energetic in reforming India’s bureaucracy. Great man, I applaud him. I look forward to doing some serious bureaucratic trimming right here in the United States . . .”
Several news sources suggested that even though the majority of Indian Americans do not support Trump, his effort to associate himself with Modi and his anti-Muslim rhetoric might win him some support. The New York Times, for example, reported that his tracking of the language of Mr. Modi “has given Mr. Trump a foothold of support among Hindus in the United States, some of whom are also drawn to his strong talk about Muslims, their longtime adversaries on the subcontinent.”
WNYC reported, “The other way that Trump aligns with some Indians and Hindus in the U.S. is his proposed ban of allowing Muslim immigrants to enter the U.S. For decades Hindus and Muslims in India have been fighting and there were outbreaks in the late 1980s that left hundreds dead. So to some extent these two communities continue to harbor suspicious against each other. . . . Trump did get a rise out of the crowd when he mentioned fighting radical Islam.”