Namaste Trump: The entire visit is going to last just 36 hours and will be jam-packed with huge cultural shows and roadshow in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
The US President Donald Trump will be accompanied by the First Lady Melania Trump, for the two day State visit from February 24-25. Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation of India has been appointed as the Minister in Waiting during the entire visit. It is a three legs visit with the first stopover in Ahmedabad, Agra and final leg is in New Delhi.
The visiting leader is expected to be accompanied by a very high-level the delegation which will have several top officials from his cabinet. The delegation including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, USTR Robert Lighthizer, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, secretary of treasury Steve Mnuchin, secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross and director, Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney will be on board the Air Force One.
The entire visit is going to last just 36 hours and will be jam-packed with huge cultural shows and roadshow in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. In a span of eight months, this will be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fifth meeting with President Trump. The two had met in Osaka, Japan, Biarritz, France, Houston & New York – a reflection of the intensity of high-level bilateral engagement between the two countries.
Foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringlahas described the India-US relationship as “most consequential” partnerships. The strategic partnership has the convergence of interests including countering terrorism, or a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific Region.
Prime Minister Modi had in his first meeting at the White House in June 2017 invited President Trump. This is President Trump’s first visit to India and is also going to be the first standalone visit by a US President to India.
“This means, the US President is coming all the way to visit India and will not be going to another country from here,” explained a top diplomat. For those who are history aficionados – so far there had been three incoming visits of US Presidents to India between 1947-2000. The first-ever visit was by President Eisenhower in 1959; President Nixon 1969 and President Jimmy Carter 1978.
However, since then there have been four such visits – President Bill Clinton in 2000, President George Bush 2006, President Barack Obama in 2010 and 2015) and now President Trump will be the fifth visit. It is estimated that the size of the Indian Diaspora in the US is around 4 million, with around a million of NRIs.
More than 200,000 Indian students are in the US and there is a comprehensive engagement among academics, scientists, professionals and other stakeholders. In Ahmedabad, the visiting leader will address the “Namaste Trump” event jointly with Prime Minister Modi. The event will be at the newly built Motera Cricket Stadium in the city.
According to officials, it will be on the lines of landmark “Howdy, Modi!” event which was hosted by the Indian-American community. It was in honour of Prime Minister Modi when he had visited Houston in September 2019, where the US President had also participated. India’s rich and diverse culture and heritage will be highlighted for the visiting President, which has few parallels in India or elsewhere.
Soon after their arrival at the airport just before noon on February 24, the delegates will have a taste of the world-famed Indian hospitality and the country’s Unity in Diversity. The route from the airport to the stadium will be lined with tens of thousands of ordinary citizens as well as artists who will be showcasing the performing artists from different states and Union Territories of India.
There will be around 28 stages which will be representing the various parts of the country. These are being set up along the route and have been termed as the Indian Road Show. Also along the route, there will be feature decorations which will be showing different events in the life of Mahatma Gandhi – the father of the nation. Outside the stadium, the public will greet President Trump and inside both the leaders will address a full-capacity audience.
According to officials the crowd with people from different parts of India and all walks of life will reflect the diversity of India. The President along with the First Lady will visit Agra. And they will spend one hour at the Taj Mahal watching the sunset before departing for New Delhi.
Tuesday, February 25 is the main day of engagement for the leader who will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. And after that the President accompanied by Melania Trump will go to Rajghat. They will pay respects at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi.
This will be followed by restricted and delegation-level talks between the two leaders which will be comprehensive covering a wide range of issues. At the end of the talks, Modi would host a lunch for President Trump. The two leaders are expected to address the media.
Then later in the afternoon, President Trump is scheduled to attend certain private events at the US Embassy. This will also include a private roundtable with industry representatives. The visit will end with the meeting with Indian President Ramnath Kovind who will also be hosting a banquet later in the evening.