Modi eyed Camp David date with Trump, claims book

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Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to go to Camp David, the picturesque presidential resort, to dine and develop a personal bond with President Donald Trump, well-known American author Bob Woodward has claimed in his latest book that has triggered a storm.

The book, which has been described by the White House as a work of fiction, has a small segment on India and June 26, 2017 visit of Modi to the White House.

President Trump has dismissed the book titled 'Fear: Trump in the White House' as a "joke".

The 448-page book claims to give an insider's account on the White House working and decision-making process in Trump's presidency.

In the book, the then national security advisor H R McMaster is seen as batting for a strong relationship with India.

Ahead of the June 26 visit of Modi, McMaster met with the then White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to prepare for the US visit of the Indian prime minister.

"The prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, who had been courted assiduously by (Barack) Obama, was coming for a visit to the United States in June to see Trump. India was the counterweight to Pakistan, which was giving the new administration as much trouble as it had given previous ones by hedging maddeningly on terrorism. Modi wanted to go to Camp David and have dinner, bond with Trump," Woodward writes in the book.

"'It's not in the cards,' Priebus told McMaster. 'We're just going to do dinner here. It's what the president wants.'," Woodward quotes Priebus as saying. This made McMaster angry.

"He (McMaster) understood the strategic importance of India, a sworn enemy of Pakistan. Outreach and strong relations were essential. The later event for Modi was a "no-frills" cocktail reception. The working dinner was at the White House," Woodward, the famed investigative journalist, writes in the book.

There was no immediate comments from the Prime Minister's Office.

Camp David, located about 100-km north-northwest of Washington, D.C., is the country retreat for the President of the United States. The US presidents have hosted several top world leaders at Camp David. 

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