India rolls out the red carpet for Trump

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for a "Namaste Trump," event at Sardar Patel Stadium, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Ahmedabad, India. (Alex Brandon / associated press)

(by Anita Kumar, Politico) AHMEDABAD, India — [President Trump arrived in India for his first official visit to the world’s largest democracy, kicking off a whirlwind 36-hour tour Monday with a mega-rally that drew over 100,000 people and a visit to India’s iconic Taj Mahal].

There were women in elaborate Indian garb dancing, Bollywood stars singing and an eclectic mix of music blaring in time to flashing lights.

And when President Trump finally appeared onstage at the world’s largest cricket stadium, the sun-soaked crowd burst into a deafening, rapturous applause. …

“Namaste Trump!” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shouted to the crowd, which repeated it back to a beaming Trump.

Standing alongside Modi, Trump on Monday inaugurated the Motera Stadium, lined with 110,000 orange, yellow and blue seats — all filled. …

“The first lady and I have just traveled 8,000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this nation: America loves India — America respects India — and Americans will always be true and loyal friends to the Indian people,” Trump said in a speech that was translated into written Hindi on a large video screen in the stadium, which sits along the Sabarmati River in Modi’s home state of Gujarat. …

Attendees, some wearing matching shirts from schools, companies or groups and others visiting from the United States, gradually streamed into the heavily secured stadium starting at 8 a.m., hours ahead of the rally’s start time. Traditional, folk and patriotic songs blasted from the loudspeakers, keeping things upbeat under the unrelenting sun. A pair of jumbo video screens showed Trump’s motorcade moving through the city.

Nearly everyone was wearing white baseball caps provided by organizers that featured a Namaste Trump logo across the front and both countries’ flags on the brim. Even if the crowd started streaming out before the speeches were over because of the intense heat, the stadium was consistently filled with adulation for the U.S. president.

“Trump is my favorite,” gushed Gautam Patel, wearing a “Trump, Make India Great Again” baseball cap. “I like Trump. He’s straightforward, outspoken. … He tells how it is. I love him.”

Patel, a businessman who grew up in India but now lives outside Chicago, planned his vacation to India around the rally. He says he supports Trump because the president helped push through the 2017 tax cuts and because of his opposition to illegal immigration. “I elected him and I will elect him again,” he said.

Indians attend the Namaste Trump event at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, India, Feb. 24, 2020. (Photo: Ajit Solanki/AP)

The event was more than twice the size of the “Howdy Modi” rally both leaders headlined in 2019 at a cavernous football stadium in Houston, billed as the largest event in the U.S. for a leader of a foreign nation. …

“My friends, my family, maybe every Patel likes Trump,” quipped Suresh Patel, 67, who splits his time between Jersey City, N.J., and Anand, India. A green card holder, he isn’t able to vote but his wife and three adult children are all U.S. citizens and voted for Trump.

“I’m feeling proud,” he said in Hindi. “It’s the meeting of the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s biggest democracy.”

Rashi Sharma, 20, a college student from Ahmedabad studying marketing and entrepreneurship said, “I’ve always heard of him. He’s a strong leader. I’m following him on Twitter.” She said “watching him live and listening to his speech is an honor for us.” …

“We are registered Democrats but we have changed our views lately,” said Daksha Dalal, 66, a federal government retiree from Kansas City, Kan., who was spending the winter in India and attending the rally with her husband. The couple volunteered they used to watch CNN but switched to Fox News after a “negative” report on Modi. “We thought we could never watch Fox because we are Democrats.”

…Before appearing at the rally, Trump made a stop at the Sabarmati Ashram, the humble home where Mahatma Gandhi lived for a dozen years as he helped push India to gain independence from Britain. …

Another 100,000 people…spent hours in the sun waiting to wave small U.S. and Indian flags and cheer as the presidential motorcade drove by. Some waved or gave a thumbs up. Along the route, artists from all 28 states performed at pop-up stages. …

Published at Politico .com. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from Politico.


NOTE: Before answering the following questions, read the info under “Background” and watch the videos under “Resources” below.

1. How many people attended the rally in Ahmedabad to hear President Trump speak during his trip to India?

2. What type of reception did the president receive?

3. What message did President Trump have for the Indian people who came to hear him speak?

4. What type of discussions did the president hold with Prime Minister Modi?

5. What deals did the two leaders sign?

6. a) What were the two leaders not able to come to an agreement on?
b) What is most likely the reason for this?
c) How did each portray a potential trade deal?

7. Those attending the rally to hear Trump speak are most likely Modi supporters. Are you surprised by the reaction of Indians to President Trump’s visit? Explain your answer.


Feb. 25 (by Don Jacobson, UPI) — President Donald Trump wrapped a two-day state visit to India Tuesday after holding bilateral defense and trade talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meeting with Indian business leaders.

Trump and Modi held intensive talks at the landmark Hyderabad House government hall during which they discussed bilateral issues ranging from defense and security to trade and investment.

The leaders agreed to deepen their defense ties as China moves to strengthen its influence in South Asia, signing agreements for India to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters.

“These deals will enhance our joint defense capabilities as our militaries continue to train and operate side-by-side,” Trump during a joint press statement with Modi following the talks. “I’m pleased to say that the U.S.-Indian partnership is now truly stronger than ever before. This was a great visit with a tremendous friend and a tremendous leader, Prime Minister Modi.”

A hoped-for finalization of a limited trade deal between the two nations, however, did not materialize. Modi said the two sides would instead shoot for a “bigger deal” while the U.S. president said if a trade deal doesn’t happen there will be “something else” satisfactory.

The president on Tuesday also met with India’s top business leaders at the U.S. Embassy in an effort to forge deeper trade and business relations. In his remarks there, Trump focused on economic issues and the upcoming U.S. election, predicting that “the market will go up like a rocket” if he defeats the Democratic Party challenger in November.

Before attending a final state dinner preceding his return to the United States, Trump [took questions from reporters on a wide range of topics for 45 minutes].

Feb. 25 (by Venus Upadhayaya, The Epoch Times) — The Indian Prime Minister said the two sides had a productive exchange on defense and security, strategic energy partnership, technology cooperation, global connectivity, trade relations, and people-to-people ties.

The important deals signed on Tuesday include American exports of liquefied natural gas and the sales of U.S.-made military helicopters.

“Earlier today, we expanded our defense cooperation with agreements for India to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters—the finest in the world,” said Trump. “These deals will enhance our joint defense capabilities as our militaries continue to train and operate side-by-side,” he said.

Modi highlighted that the United States has become an important source of oil and natural gas for India and that the energy trade volume in the last four years has reached $20 billion. Trump highlighted that since he came to power, high-quality energy exports to India have increased by 500 percent. …

Trump also talked about increasing U.S. exports to India and said general exports have increased by 60 percent since he took office.

New Delhi Television reports that while talking about the trade deal, Trump noted high tariffs in India.

“Relationship with India is magnificent—but deficit is 24 billion. They (the Indian government) have high tariffs… too high. You can’t do that,” the President said.

A comprehensive trade deal between the two countries could still not be reached, but Trump expressed optimism about something coming in the future.

“Our teams have made tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement and I’m optimistic we can reach a deal that will be of great importance to both countries,” said the President.

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