The planned visit by the President of the United States, Donald Trump has created excitement among sections of the Indian society. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are scheduled to visit India February 24-25 for the first time since he occupied the White House.
President Donald Trump will get a red carpet welcome in Gujarat later this month, on a grander scale than the event organized for Modi in Houston last year. The government is organizing ‘Kem Chho, Trump’, the Gujarati equivalent of the Texas event ‘Howdy Modi’ in the Prime Minister’s home state, Gujarat. President Trump and Modi are scheduled to do a roadshow from the Ahmedabad airport and visit Sabarmati Ashram to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. Later, President Trump will inaugurate Ahmedabad’s newly-constructed Sardar Patel Stadium with a seating capacity of over 100,000 people.
US-India analysts tracking President Donald Trumps scheduled visit to India later this month are keenly watching for a much anticipated trade deal that holds the promise of ending three years of escalating trade tensions, but are dialing down expectations of this being a “transformational” moment.
Speaking to reporters this week, Trump said the trade deal with India will happen if “we can make the right deal”. He added, “I’ll be watching most closely the much-anticipated trade deal, which is likely to represent some good progress in solving a handful of price caps and tariff issues, but as far as I can tell, (it) will not mark a transformational moment,” Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the media.
President Donald Trump downplayed a limited trade deal that was supposed to be announced during his upcoming visit to India but is currently mired in uncertainty and said Tuesday he was “saving the big deal for later on”, possibly after the US election in November when he will be seeking a second term.
Trump did not seem happy about the situation though. Speaking to reporters before leaving town for a string of election rallies, he fell back to his old grievances about India on trade saying the United States is “not treated very well by India”.
Meanwhile, US First Lady Melania Trump has expressed her excitement about the forthcoming trip. In a tweet, Melania, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the invitation, saying: “Looking forward to visiting Ahmedabad and New Delhi later this month. POTUS and I are excited for the trip and to celebrate the close ties between the USA and India.”
She was responding to Prime Minister Modi’s tweet which described their visit as a “very special one” which “will go a long way in further cementing India-USA friendship”. India, he said, will “accord a memorable welcome” to them. Former US First Lady Michelle Obama, who visited India with former President Barack Obama in 2015. had created a buzz with her dressing and fashion sense. Melania is also known for elegant style quotient.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said he expects to see “millions” of people on the way from the Ahmedabad airport to the Sardar Vallabhai Patel stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad, where he is expected to address a massive public rally with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, Trump, accompanied by wife Melania Trump and a high-level delegation, will arrive in Ahmedabad around noon on February 24 for a little less than 36-hour-long trip. From Ahmedabad, he will travel to Agra before arriving at the national capital for the main leg of the visit.
In Ahmedabad, President Trump will address the ‘Namaste Trump’ event jointly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the newly built Motera cricket stadium.
“It will be similar to the landmark ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event hosted by the Indian-American community in honour of Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Houston in September 2019, in which President Trump participated,” Shringla said, briefing reporters on the visit.
“The route will feature decorations depicting different events in the life of Gandhiji, whose association with the city is so well-known,” said the foreign secretary. Shringla said as many as 28 stages representing the various parts of the country are being set up along the route, in what is being called the India Road Show.