Trump arrives for maiden visit to India today

Kashmir Times. Dated: 2/24/2020 12:40:13 AM

‘Looking forward to being with great friends in India’

WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI, Feb 23(Agencies): US President Donald Trump on Sunday left for his maiden visit to India for talks with the top Indian leadership during which the two countries are expected to significantly ramp up bilateral relations, especially in the defence and strategic ties. Trump, who is accompanied by First Lady Melania, daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and the top brass of his administration, just before his departure said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is his "friend" and he is looking forward to visit India. Trump said he had committed to visit India long time back and he is looking forward to be with the people of India.
"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,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “I had committed to this trip 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. That's what the Prime Minister told me. Its' the biggest event they ever had. It's going to be very exciting. I am going to be there for one night," said the US President in response to a question.
The US President will have a brief re-fuel stopover in Germany. The maiden visit to India is expected to significantly ramp up bilateral defence and strategic ties but unlikely to produce tangible outcome in resolving thorny issues like trade tariffs. The nearly 36-hour-long visit by Trump is also set to send across a clear message of growing congruence of interests on major geopolitical developments in the region and beyond, particularly when China has been expanding its military might and economic clout.
Trump will arrive on his two-day visit to India on Monday, becoming the seventh American President to visit the country.
He has a jam-packed schedule for around 36 hours which he will spend in India. Accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, the US President will begin the nearly 36-hour-long trip with a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad at around 12:15 PM on Monday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced on Sunday.
This will be followed by Trump's participation at the 'Namaste Trump' event at around 1:05 PM, where he will address a mammoth crowd of more than 100,000 people at the Motera Stadium in the city. The event will be based on the lines of 'Howdy Modi' function that was addressed by the US President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston in September last year.
From Ahmedabad, the US President and the First Lady will make a brief stop at Agra where they will visit the Taj Mahal at around 5:15 PM, before departing for the national capital later in the day for the main leg of the 36-hour long trip.
On the morning of February 25, the US President will first receive a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhawan at 10 AM as per the protocol. From there, he will go to the Rajghat to pay homage at the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi. This will be followed by both, restricted and delegation-level talks between Trump and Modi at the Hyderabad House in the national capital on Tuesday afternoon.
The talks would be followed by the exchange of agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries. Earlier this week, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had informed that New Delhi and Washington are eyeing around five MoUs in the areas of intellectual property, trade facilitation, and homeland security, among others.
“We are also looking at a joint statement which will basically capture the essence of the partnership between the two countries. I will not go into the details of the MoUs, I will see if I can, maybe, give you some topics on which MoUs are expected, we are looking at MoUs in the areas of intellectual property, for example, in the area of trade facilitation, in the area of homeland security. These are works in progress and we will have a much clearer picture closer to the date,” Kumar had said. Trump will meet President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the national capital at 7:30 PM before leaving for the United States by his special flight on the night of February 25.
Before departing from Washington, Trump said that he was looking forward to being with his “great friends” in India as he re-tweeted a video in which his face was superimposed on the hit movie-character Bahubali, showing him as a great saviour.
"Look so forward to being with my great friends in INDIA!" Trump tweeted on Saturday. Along with the tweet, Trump shared an 81-second video by a Twitter account identified as "Sol" with the handle Solmemes1
“To celebrate Trump’s visit to India I wanted to make a video to show how in my warped mind it will go… USA and India united!” the handle Solmemes1 tweeted in the original post with the video.
Trump appears as a great saviour, in the short animated clip, riding on a chariot with First Lady Melania. A few stills later, Trump is seen riding a horse carrying on his soldiers his son Donald Junior and daughter Ivanka.
Later, he is welcomed by Prime Minister Modi in a village setting. Hundreds and thousands of people are seen welcoming Trump in the video.
“This week Trump will visit India and in celebration I have created a new meme for the occasion… You few, who are my patrons, get to see it first!” Sol told viewers on subscription content service Patreon on Saturday.
A few hours later, Trump retweeted the video.
In the Twitter description, Sol describes herself as “award winning master memetician, professor of memology at University of GFY, my views are my own and not associated with real life.”
The video, which ends with “USA and India United”, went viral after Trump retweeted it. In a few hours, it was seen by more than ten lakh people.
After Barack Obama, Trump is the only other US President to visit India in his first term.
Issues expected to be discussed during the visit include an open Indo-Pacific, reduced trade barriers, boost to counter-terror cooperation and mitigating Indian concerns over H-1B visas.
“President Trump has been the best friend of India amongst all US Presidents. He loves Indians and Indian-Americans. Indian Americans nationwide love him as much,” Al Mason, advisor to Global Real Estate Investments, Education Institutions and Hospitals, told agencies.
“How else do you explain 60,000 Indian-Americans attending his ‘Howdy, Modi!’ rally with Prime Minister Modi in Houston, not to overlook the fact that billion-plus Indians in India love President Trump too,” he said, referring to Trump and Modi sharing the stage in September in Houston at a massive rally of Indian-Americans called “Howdy, Modi!”.
Modi and Trump are set to share the stage on Monday for “Namaste Trump,” event which roughly translates as “Hello Trump” in Ahmedabad.
The president, who arrived at the White House following four days of hectic political campaigning in the western parts of the country, had no public engagements on Saturday.
Trump did not go for a round of golf, which is normally the case for him on a bright sunny weekend day in Washington.

 

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