Donald Trump’s two-day visit expected to scale up bilateral ties between Indian and the US


New Delhi: United State President Donald Trump will begin his tour of India with pomp and spectacle on February 24 amid a grand welcome by the Indian government, with his two-day visit expected to scale up bilateral ties between the two countries, even though a big announcement of a trade deal is not expected.

The government is preparing a welcome quite unlike those put on for visiting world leaders. From being received at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to driving along a route with stages featuring artistes from across India and participating in the “Namaste Trump” rally at the Motera Stadium, all the arrangements made for the first leg of Trump’s maiden visit to India are on a grand scale.

After addressing the rally along with Modi, Trump and his delegation will fly to Agra so that he and First Lady Melania Trump can spend some time at the Taj Mahal before sunset. The US delegation will then fly to Delhi, where Trump and Modi will hold wide-ranging talks on Tuesday.

As Modi and Trump hold talks on Tuesday, they are expected to focus on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues including trade and investment, defence and security, counterterrorism, energy security, religious freedom, proposed peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan and the situation in the Indo-Pacific, according to officials.

Just before his departure on Sunday evening, Trump said: “I look forward to being with the people of India. We are going to have many millions and millions of people. It’s a long trip. I get along very well with Prime Minister Modi. He is a friend of mine.”

“I had committed to this trip a long time ago. I look forward to it. I hear it’s going to be a big event… the biggest event they ever had in India,” he added.

PM Modi said India was looking forward to welcoming the US President. “India looks forward to welcoming @POTUS @realDonaldTrump. It is an honour that he will be with us tomorrow, starting with the historic programme in Ahmedabad,” he tweeted.

Trump and his delegation, including Melania, daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner and several senior members of the US cabinet, will fly to Ahmedabad on Air Force One shortly before noon on February 24. After being received by the Prime Minister, Trump’s motorcade will travel to Sabarmati Ashram, located on the banks of the Sabarmati river and the place and where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1917 and 1930.

After spending about 15 minutes going around the ashram with Modi, Trump will leave in his motorcade for Motera Stadium, the world’s largest cricket stadium. As his motorcade makes its way along a 22km route, it will pass 28 stages featuring artistes from as many states and exhibits depicting different aspects of Mahatma Gandhi’s life and struggle for the country’s independence.


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