India Gears Up To Host Donald Trump, Ahmedabad First Stop: 10 Points

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India Gears Up To Host Donald Trump, Ahmedabad First Stop: 10 Points

US President Donald Trump is on a visit to India beginning today with First Lady Melania Trump.

New Delhi:
United States President Donald Trump will make his first official trip to India today. The two-day state visit – the eighth by an American president – comes ahead of his potential re-election – the US votes in November – and just months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Howdy, Modi!” event in Texas last year. Mr Trump attended that event, which was organised by the Indian-American community, and addressed a vote bank many believe could play a crucial role in US elections. Many see Mr Trump’s visit as a reciprocal action that will offer PM Modi the chance to claim the support of the US as he struggles to deal with an economic slowdown. Mr Trump’s visit also comes amid tense trade talks between the two countries, after India hiked tariffs for 28 US products in retaliation for the US cancelling a duty-free benefits programme.

Here are the top 10 points as Donald Trump visits India:

  1. Shortly before his departure from Washington, DC, on Sunday night, President Trump said: “We will be with millions and millions. I get along very well with PM Modi… he is a friend,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told him “this (“Namaste, Trump”) will be the biggest event they have ever had”.

  2. Hours earlier PM Modi tweeted, declaring Mr Trump’s visit an “honour”. “India looks forward to welcoming @POTUS @realDonaldTrump. It is an honour he will be with us tomorrow, starting with the historic programme in Ahmedabad,” he said.

  3. All eyes will be on the meeting between PM Modi and President Trump in Delhi, where an Indo-US trade deal is likely to be discussed. Hopes of an agreement between two of the world’s largest economies have faded in recent days after differences over proposed tariffs by India to protect domestic manufacturers. India’s action came after the US scrapped the general system of preferences that allowed the export of $5.6 billion worth of goods.

  4. Apart from growing protectionism, Mr Trump’s visit also comes against the backdrop of India’s multibillion-dollar purchase of a Russian missile shield system, which had added friction to its ties with Washington.

  5. The highlight of Mr Trump’s tour is the “Namaste, Trump” reception at Ahmedabad’s newly-built Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Cricket Stadium – said to be the world’s largest. The event will “showcase India’s rich and diverse culture… few parallels in India or elsewhere”, foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said. “Namaste, Trump” is being seen by many as a parallel to the lavish “Howdy, Modi!” event organised for PM Modi during last year’s US visit.

  6. En route to the “Namaste, Trump” event, President Trump’s convoy will pass through the Sardarnagar area of Ahmedabad, which contains several slums. A four-foot tall, 500-metre-long wall has been built along this section, which residents say is meant to “hide the poor people” ahead of Mr Trump’s visit. Local officials, however, say the decision to build the wall was taken well before the presidential visit.

  7. Among other issues the two leaders will discuss during this visit is religious freedom in India. Last week White House officials confirmed President Trump would discuss this “in private” with PM Modi. Mr Trump’s visit comes amid a wave of anti-citizenship law protests, including two violent clashes on Sunday night, that have turned the spotlight on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, or CAA, that activists and PM Modi’s political critics say discriminates against Muslims.

  8. From Ahmedabad, Mr Trump and his family will travel to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, which has been treated to several rounds of beautification with the help of mud packs; this too has been described as something that had already been planned. Authorities have also released vast volumes of water into the Yamuna River, which flows along the Taj Mahal, in order to lessen the usual whiff of raw sewage and industrial effluent.

  9. First Lady Melania Trump’s scheduled visit to a Delhi government school also attracted controversy, after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia were dropped from the event. Tensions between Mr Kejriwal’s AAP, which rules Delhi and PM Modi’s BJP, in power at the centre, spiked after a bitterly fought Delhi Assembly election last month that the AAP won. Late Sunday evening the US embassy issued a clarification.

  10. Overall, unprecedented levels of security have been deployed across the three cities President Trump will visit, with a three-layered security blanket covering the ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi where he and his family will be staying. Security measures in place include sharp-shooters on high-rises in the area and an anti-drone detachment of the NSG. Additional teams are covering the neighbouring Taj Palace Hotel.


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