The government has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not accompany US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump to see the Taj Mahal in Agra. The US President, his wife, daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner along with a large US delegation are coming to India on a two-day visit on Monday.
“We have seen media reports regarding PM Modi’s presence in Agra in connection with the visit of President Trump. The visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra by the US President and the First Lady will afford them the opportunity to view the historical monument suitably. Therefore, no official engagements or presence of senior dignitaries from the Indian side is envisaged there,” people with direct knowledge of the PM’s schedule said.
“PM Modi will be with President Trump in Ahmedabad, where a public reception will be accorded to President Trump and the US First Lady on February 24, and in the Delhi leg of the visit where official engagements are envisaged on February 25,” they said.
A senior US administration official, during a conference call with journalists, however, said, “The President will arrive in India, in Ahmedabad… The President and the First Lady will then go with Prime Minister Modi to visit the Taj, in Agra. They will then fly to New Delhi and rest overnight in New Delhi, and have a full program on Tuesday.”
PM Modi and President Trump will go on a roadshow to the world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad’s Motera.
India and the US are also likely to discuss mutually agreeable trade terms, though reports say the chances of a big trade deal coming through is slim. President Trump has been highlighting what he calls high tariffs by India and is seeking wider access to the Indian market.
The visiting American delegation includes Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, among others.
India is the fifth-largest economy in the world with massive energy needs, and the US is seeking to help India meet those demands, news agency Press Trust of India reported quoting a US administration official.
“Indeed, India is a pillar of our Indo-Pacific strategy, and we continue to work together to promote this vision of a free and open international system based on market economics, good governance, freedom of the seas and skies, and respect for sovereignty,” said the official.