Donald Trump India Visit Updates: US president reaches Delhi amid tight security; talks with Narendra Modi, presidential banquet on tomorrows agenda

Kusum Tewari

Donald Trump India Visit Updates: US president Donald Trump arrived in Delhi, after visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra and addressing a huge crowd at the Motera stadium in Ahmedabad. Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to hold talks n a wide range of issues including trade and investment, defence and security, counter-terrorism, energy security,  proposed peace deal with Taliban in Afghanistan and situation in the Indo-Pacific at Hyderabad House at 11 am on Tuesday.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad won’t attend the presidential banquet which will be hosted for the Trumps in Delhi, reported India Today. Earlier, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had said that he won’t attend the banquet at the Rashtrapati Bhavan as party chief Sonia Gandhi had not been invited.

Donald Trump and Melania have left for the Agra airport, from where they will board a flight to Delhi. They are expected to arrive in the National Capital at 7.30 pm.

“The Taj Mahal inspires awe. A timeless testament to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture! Thank you India,” the US president and First Lady wrote in the visitor’s book at the monument.

US president Donald Trump has arrived at the Taj Mahal. The 17th centruy monument has been refurbished to welcome Trump and his family. They will spend about an hour to catch the sunset from the famed mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631.

 Donald and Melania Trump have reached Agra for their visit to the Taj Mahal. The city has been spruced up for their visit, with massive billboards bearing greeting messages dotted the nearly 13-km route of his convoy.  Along the route, over 3,000 artistes spread over 21 designated designated areas will also present dance forms of Brij, Awadh and other regions, like Krishna Lila.

The US president addressed a mega event named ‘Namaste Trump’ at the Motera stadium in Gujarat. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also addressed the crowd of more than one lakh attendees.

News18 reported that the iconic monument, considered one of the seven-wonders-of-the-world, stands on the bank of the Yamuna, and is always high on the itinerary of visiting heads of state.

Around 25,000 students are likely to welcome US president Donald and Melania Trump in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra, News18 reported. The students will greet Trump along the 13-kilometre route planned ahead of his visit to the Taj Mahal.

The report quoted a senior state government official as saying, “Over 25,000 students from government, as well as private schools, will welcome President Trump. 500 women associated with self help groups will also welcome Trump in the historic city.”

Even though Donald Trump arrived in Ahmedabad on Monday morning in a Boeing 747 Jumbo aircraft, a smaller Air Force One will fly him to Agra, India Today reported. The aircraft in which he will travel from Ahmedabad to Agra is a C-32A (Boeing 757). However, he will return to US from Delhi in a Boeing 747 Jumbo.

Amid questions raised regarding trade tensions between India and US, Donald Trump said at the Motera stadium that he and Modi will be making ‘some very big trade deal’ to boost the countries’ economy.

Donald Trump promised to settle a three billion dollar defence deal with India during his India visit. Trump also said that both India and US are united in defending citizens from threat of “radical Islamic terrorism”.

Donald Trump said, “Five months ago, the United States welcomed your great Prime Minister at a giant football stadium in Texas and today India welcomes us at the world’s largest cricket stadium right here in Ahmedabad.” He said that he will remember India for its “remarkable hospitality”. “India will hold a special place in our hearts. PM Modi started out as ‘tea wallah’, he worked as a tea seller. Everybody loves him but I will tell you this, he is very tough,” Trump said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts his address to a packed Motera Stadium. “I had started my America visit with the Howdy Modi event and today, Trump has started his historic India visit with Namaste Trump.”

Arriving at the Motera stadium for the Namaste Trump event, Donald Trump and Narendra Modi get set to address a crowd of over 1 lakh people. Home Minister Amit Shah and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani received the leaders.

In the message he penned in the guestbook at Sabarmati Ashram during his 15-minute visit, US President Donald Trump thanked his “great friend” Narendra Modi for the “wonderful visit” to India. The message did not make any mention of Mahatma Gandhi.

In his 15-minute visit to the Sabarmati Ashram, the Trumps paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. They also tried their hand at spinning the yarn. The US President and Melania signed the guestbook.

Narendra Modi and Donald trump arrived at the Sabarmati Ashram. The US President is scheduled to spend 15 minutes at the ashram and will see the room where Mahatma Gandhi lived for 12 years.

Donald Trump and his high-level delegation will visit Mahatma Gandhi’s residence of 12 years at Sabarmati Ashram soon, following which he will kick off the 22-km-long roadshow to Motera cricket stadium.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the Ahmedabad airport. They will now visit the Sabarmati Ashram. Modi also welcomed Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

Air Force One, the aircraft carrying US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and his high-level delegation, has landed at Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhai Patel airport. They will soon make way to the Sabarmati Ashram, after which they will go to the Motera cricket stadium.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed that the government is doing everything to make “Mogambo” happy. “What is the need to spend crores of rupees from the government’s treasury? People living in slums are being forced to hide or move to make Trump happy,” he said. Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also said it is ironical that Gujarat, the birthplace of Gandhiji who was an epitome of simplicity, is indulging in extravagance, while the Shiv Sena said the 36-hour-long sojourn of the US president in the country won’t make ‘an iota of difference’ in the lives of poor and middle-class Indians.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad at 10.25 am, almost an hour and half before Donald Trump’s arrival along with his delegation.

The prime minister will receive Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump upon their arrival aboard the Air Force One flight, scheduled to land here at around 11.40 am, officials said.

Before his arrival at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad to attend the mega event at the Motera cricket stadium, Donald Trump tweeted in Hindi for the first time saying he is “looking forward to land in India in a few hours”.

“We look forward to coming to India. We are on the way, we will meet everyone in a few hours!” Trump tweeted.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia are unlikely to accompany US First Lady Melania Trump during her visit to a government school in Delhi on Tuesday. Responding to the same, Sisodia told ANI, “Certain concerns were expressed by US embassy regarding CM and Deputy CM accompanying the First Lady during the school visit. We respect the same. We welcome the First Lady wholeheartedly and will do our best to facilitate the tour.” He said that it is a matter of pride for AAP that the happiness classes are being recognised globally.

US president Donald Trump will arrive in India on Monday for his highly-anticipated visit to the country, during which he will attend a grand event in Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium and visit the Sabarmati Ashram. He is expected to proceed to Delhi after a 15-minute visit to the Taj Mahal at Agra, where he will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a friend of mine. I had committed to this trip a long time back. I will be addressing a big rally,” Trump said at the White House on Sunday before boarding Air Force one for his journey to India.

The US president, who is scheduled to arrive at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport at around 11.40 am on Monday, will participate along with Modi in roadshows on his way from the airport to Sabarmti Ashram and from there to the newly-built Sardar Patel cricket stadium, where over one lakh people are expected to be present for the ‘Namaste Trump’ event.

Trump, who is also accompanied by the First Lady Melania, his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and the top brass of his administration, will get a taste of India’s cultural potpourri during the first leg of his visit.

In Ahmedabad, preparations are in the final stages for the song and dance performance that will take place along the 22-kilometre route of the ‘India roadshow’. Huge billboards of the two leaders and replicas of historic places in Gujarat have also been placed along the roads where people will greet the two leaders.

Billboard with slogans hailing Indo-US relations like ‘the world’s oldest democracy meets the world’s largest democracy’ and ‘stronger friendship for a brighter future’, and pictures of Trump and Modi walking together, shaking hands, and waving at the crowd during the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in the US last year have come up at prominent places. A cut-out of the 12th century ‘Kirti Toran’ (a pair of columns supporting an arch), from Modi’s hometown Vadnagar in Gujarat’s Mehsana district, has also been put up outside the Ahmedabad airport to welcome Trump.

Even as preparations were being given the final touches, two makeshift VVIP entry gates erected outside the newly-built cricket stadium in Motera collapsed due to gusty winds on Sunday morning. However, no one was injured in either of the incidents, officials said.

Tight security arrangements are in place with the deployment of over 10,000 police personnel, besides officials of the United States Secret Service, personnel of the National Security Guards (NSG) and the Special Protection Group (SPG).

Earlier in the day, Modi took to Twitter to extend his welcome to Trump.

He will accompany Trump to the Sabarmati Ashram, which was home to Mahatma Gandhi from 1917-1930 during India’s freedom struggle. Several world leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had visited Sabarmati Ashram in recent years. Ashram secretary Amrut Modi said that Trump will spend 15 minutes at the place, where he would be told about the the importance of charkha (spinning wheel) as a symbol of self-reliance.

“Trump will visit the ‘Hriday Kunj’. If he wishes, he will spin a charkha (spinning wheel). We will also gift him a coffee-table book, and a book containing 150 quotations of Gandhi,” the Ashram official said. Hriday Kunj is a room on the Ashram premises where Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi had lived for 12 years between 1918 and 1930.

The US president will spend the rest of his time in Ahmedabad at the Namaste Trump extravaganza, where Bollywood singers Kailash Kher and Parthiv Gohil, and Gujarati folk singers like Kirtidan Gadhvi, Gita Rabari, Purushottam Upadhyay and Sairam Dave will perform. Students of various government and private schools have also been roped in to perform at cultural events and they have been practicing for days, an official said. Modi and Trump will also address the gathering.  Trump is expected to reach the venue by 1.o5 pm.

Trump and his entourage will fly to Agra, which has been spruced up for the visit with massive billboards and American and Indian flags displayed on all major roads. Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will welcome the US president on his arrival at the Kheria airport at 4.30 pm on Monday where a group of about 350 artistes will be performing.

A large number of security personnel have been deployed across the city, especially along the nearly 13-km route to be taken by Trump’s convoy from the airport to the Amarvilas hotel, and in and around the Taj. In the main city, old roads were repaired, road-dividers painted afresh, illegal hoardings and posters removed, and walls along the route that President Trump will take decorated with painting reflecting the Brij culture and architectural heritage of Agra. Water was being sprayed regularly to ensure there is no dust.

According to the official schedule, the US president will arrive with his family at the Taj Mahal complex at 5:15 pm on Monday and spend about an hour at the famed 17th century mausoleum, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.

He will leave for Delhi at 6.15 pm for the main leg of the visit during which restricted and delegation-level talks between Trump and Modi will be at Hyderabad House on Tuesday. The eagerly awaited tour of India is expected to significantly ramp up bilateral defence and strategic ties but unlikely to produce tangible outcome in resolving thorny issues like trade tariffs.

The nearly 36-hour-long visit by Trump is also set to send across a clear message of growing congruence of interests on major geopolitical developments in the region and beyond, particularly when China has been expanding its military and economic clout.

On Tuesday, Travel restrictions will come into place at the Taj Mahal, the floors and arches of which were cleaned and polished by workers ahead of the high profile visit.  Water has been continuously discharged into the polluted Yamuna in the last few days to improve its environmental condition and get rid of the foul smell emanating from it, and its banks have been cleaned of plastic and other waste.

In Taj Ganj, the area neighbouring the mausoleum, uniorm billboards have been installed in many shops. “About a week ago, the boards were changed to a uniform look for all shops to present a beautiful look. We are very excited about President Trump’s visit,” said Pawan Kumar, who runs a sweet shop.

The president and the First Lady would be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, on the morning of 25 February. Before the wide-ranging talks between Modi and Trump at the Hyderabad House at 11 am, the couple will visit Rajghat to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi. Following the meeting, Modi will host a lunch for the US president.

In their talks on Tuesday, Trump and Modi are expected to touch on a gamut of bilateral and regional issues including trade and investment, defence and security, counter-terrorism, energy security,  proposed peace deal with Taliban in Afghanistan and situation in the Indo-Pacific, according to Indian and US officials. Trump is also likely to raise the issue of religious freedom and discuss the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National register of Citizens (NRC), protests against which have convulsed the country for over two months.

Trump is accompanied by a high-powered delegation comprising Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and Energy Secretary Dan Broulliette.

In the afternoon, Trump is expected to attend certain private events at the US Embassy, including a roundtable with industry representatives. In the evening, the US president will attend a banquet hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, following which he will depart at 10 pm.

With inputs from PTI


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