US President Donald Trump will address a mega “Namaste Trump” event with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the world’s biggest cricket stadium, visit the Taj Mahal with First Lady Melania Trump and hold talks in Delhi on his two-day visit to India next week.
This is President Trump’s first-ever visit to India, described by the White House as “a democracy seen as a rising economic partner in Asia and an important counterweight to China”.
Ahead of the visit, the US President’s security vehicles have started arriving in Ahmedabad in PM Modi’s home state Gujarat.
Just after noon on Monday, President Trump will appear with PM Modi at the open-press “Namaste Trump” event at the newly-built Sadar Vallabhhai Patel stadium at Motera, said to be the world’s biggest cricket stadium with a capacity of over 100,000.
“People-to-people contact has always been an important part of India-US relations and making the event a part of US President Donald Trump’s visit is a reflection of that,” BJP leader Ram Madhav had told news agency ANI on Tuesday.
“The programme is organised as a gesture from our side to reiterate our commitment to take US-India relationship to a higher level,” he said.
The President and the First Lady will later fly down to Agra for an evening visit to the Taj Mahal, the world-renowned marble mausoleum where foreign dignitaries often stop for a spectacular photo-op.
On Tuesday morning, President Trump and Melania Trump will participate in an open-press welcome ceremony at the presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi. They will also visit Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat before heading to Hyderabad House in the heart of the capital for bilateral meetings and lunch. President Trump and PM Modi will later make a joint press statement.
On Tuesday afternoon, the US President will meet business leader. The Trumps are likely to meet President Ram Nath Kovind before a state banquet in the evening.
Air Force One will be ready to fly back at 10 pm on Tuesday and land at Washington DC on Wednesday after nearly 20 hours of travel.
Even as both countries are preparing for the big-ticket visit, President Trump cast doubts over the likelihood of a trade deal with India on Tuesday. “Well, we can have a trade deal with India, but I’m really saving the big deal for later on,” he told reporters.
“I don’t know if it will be done before the election,” he added.
US wants greater access to the Indian market on exports of agricultural products and medical devices while India wants restoration of preferential status under the Generalized System of Preferences program for developing countries.
“We’re not treated very well by India, but I happen to like Prime Minister Modi a lot,” he said.