Grand welcome awaits Trump on visit to India

Grand welcome awaits Trump on visit to India

Agency News

New Delhi, Feb 13: US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump's visit to India will be a blend of the three dimensions of electoral politics, trade and defence cooperation and an amalgamation of celebration that will be memorable not only for the guests but also for the countrymen.

Arriving to a grand welcome at the invitation of President Ram Nath Kovind, Mr Trump and his wife will reach Ahmedabad on a two-day visit to India on February 24 and their official programme will be held in New Delhi the next day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will personally welcome Mr Trump in Ahmedabad and the two leaders will attend a 10-km road show from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Sabarmati Ashram. For this, the route from the airport to the Sabarmati Ashram is being decorated. Tens of thousands of people will line the route to welcome the leader of the world's oldest democracy.

Later, the duo will address a huge public meeting 'Khem Cho Trump' at the newly-constructed Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium, on the lines of the 'Howdy Modi' organised at Houston in the US. The refurbished stadium has a seating capacity of 1.25 lakh people. Tables of the country's diverse culture will be visible at the airport, roadshow and stadium will convince the US President. The entire programme of the US President in Ahmedabad will be festive.

The road show and public meeting in Ahmedabad will be crucial for the US Presidential elections due later this year. A sizable chunk of the influential Indian diaspora living in the US hail from Gujarat. Mr Trump has realised the huge crowds the Prime Minister attracts after attending the 'Howdy Modi' programme in Houston in September last year. With the 'Khem Cho Trump' of Ahmedabad, the visiting dignitary hopes to favourably impact the overseas Indian community living in America. The message of Mr Modi's presence on the platform will reach the migrants directly.

Major leaders of the Republican Party are also expected to attend this event. According to sources, on February 25, Mr Trump will be in New Delhi where he will be given a grand welcome in the premises of Rashtrapati Bhavan. He will inspect and take the salute of the guard of the joint contingent of the three armies. He will then pay homage at the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. This will be followed by delegation-level bilateral summit with Mr Modi at Hyderabad House. There is a possibility of clinching defence deals between the two countries at the summit. The Union Cabinet Committee on Defence recently approved deals to purchase 24 Romeo Multi Mission helicopters for the Navy, six Apache Warfare helicopters for the Air Force and six P8I Sea Teehee aircraft. They are expected to be supplied by 2023-24.

In addition, Mr Trump may also propose to jointly build F-21, F-18, F-15 EX or an improved version of F-16 under the 'Make in India' programme. The two countries have identified seven projects under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI). Negotiations on the bilateral trade agreement will also proceed at the summit. During Mr Modi's visit to America in September, the agreement was expected to be inked, considered significant in view of the Sino-US trade war. Trump said if America's interests are fulfilled, then he will sign it. Indian diplomatic sources also say that if it suits India's interests, New Delhi will sign the pact.

According to sources, there is a deadlock on the issue of access to agricultural and automobile products in each other's market. It is also believed that Mr Trump could give some assurance about India's concerns over H1B visas for overseas Indians, especially for young professionals. Regional issues including energy security, Afghanistan, terrorism will also be discussed. In the evening, President Kovind will host a banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan in honour of Mr Trump before he departs for home at night. The nearly 40-hour journey will combine both colour and strategic cooperation in electoral politics and the celebration will make the trip memorable for the Trump couple. (UNI)