The US President Donald Trump is all set to visit India with his wife and the Indian Prime Minister is ready to welcome him with open arms.
Ahmedabad is being spruced up and preened at a cost of over Rs 85 crore, as per reports, even as opposition parties are crying foul over the expenses.
A US Air Force cargo plane has already landed at the Ahmedabad International Airport, bringing with it a range of advanced security-related equipment and a large SUV-like vehicle with multiple antennas mounted on it, local police sources said.
The Namaste Trump (earlier dubbed Kem Cho Trump) event is scheduled to be held at the renovated Motera cricket stadium, with a capacity of over 1,10,000, making it the world’s biggest. Trump and Modi are expected to deliver a historic speech in front of hundreds of people.
Coming within weeks of his acquittal from impeachment, Trump’s visit marks a new bonding between the two countries ahead of US Presidential elections in November 2020. The Indian government is leaving no stone unturned to make it a “spectacular moment to remember” not just for Trump and the US, but also for the global audience.
It is understood that Indo-US trade ties, balancing common frenemy China in global and regional geopolitics, containing Pakistan’s involvement in Kashmir, stepping up a triad against global terrorism and India’s bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, are going to be the pivots.
President Trump has expressed on many occasions his willingness to mediate over Kashmir, but India had strongly rebuffed him. But it could still figure as a topic for the Modi-Trump meeting.
The Trumps will start their visit on February 24 with a drive to Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram, a first for a US President. During this visit, they will be given a tour of Hriday Kunj, Gandhiji’s house, where they will symbolically operate a ‘charkha’ (spinning wheel). Trump will be gifted a ‘charkha’, two books on the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi and a portrait of the ‘Father of the Nation’.
“A stretch of 20 km of road, from Ahmedabad Airport to Motera has been widened and re-laid,” said Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner, Vijay Nehra. The officials said over one lakh people are expected to line up the route to welcome the Trumps.
A wall is also being erected along the road connecting the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport to Indira Bridge, allegedly to cover-up a slum in Ahmedabad. “The 6–7 feet high wall is being erected to cover the slum area on a 600-metre stretch,” said insiders in the State government’s civic department to mask “more than 500 kutcha houses in the decades-old Dev Saran or Saraniyavaas slum area, that houses over 2,500 people”.
Some of the key persons likely to be part of Trump’s team are: Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, son-in-law, Jared Kushner, US trade representative Robert Lighthijzer, NSA Robert O Brien, treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.
Jared Corey Kushner, son of Jewish immigrants, is a Harvard educated investor and real estate developer. He is currently senior advisor to his father-in-law, Donald Trump. He has been a trade negotiator in the US-China trade talks. During the 2016 Trump Presidential campaign, Kushner helped develop and run Trump’s digital media strategy.
It would be interesting to see how this new meeting of the India’s Prime Minister ans US President turns out to be.