The Question of Trade Deals over Trump’s Visit to India

In picture: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump

The United States (US) President Donald Trump is gearing up for his maiden two-day official trip to India starting from February 24.

Itinerary of Trump’s 2-day Busy Schedule on his Upcoming India Visit

The tentative 2-day (February 24-25, 2020) schedule of the US President Donald Trump is given below:

February 24

12:00 pm: On February 24, 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will personally receive the US President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melanie Trump at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Gujarat. On their 22-km long roadshow on the streets of Ahmadabad to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, both heads of the state will make a brief stopover at the Sabarmati Ashram to pay tributes to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. The US President will be gifted books, a portrait sketch, and a spinning wheel on MK Gandhi.

Around 12:30 pm: 

Both the leaders will arrive at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium to attend and address the Namaste Trump event, which will feature a public address by the state heads along with cultural performances. Reports say that some Bollywood celebrities might also be present during the event. Around 1.25 lakh people are likely to participate in the grandeur at the stadium.

Around 3:30 pm: The US President and the First Lady will leave for Agra after having the formal lunch, which will be hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Around 5 pm: The couple will tour the Taj Mahal in Agra for around 45 minutes and then leave for Delhi for official reception and bilateral talks.

February 25

10 am: The President of India Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind will receive the US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. 

10:45 am: At Raj Ghat, the couple will pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi.

11:30 am: The couple will arrive at the Hyderabad House and will have a photo session with PM Modi and others. The restricted dialogue will take place after the initial photo op. The expanded delegation-level talk will start after the restricted dialogue. During these talks, the First Lady Melania Trump will visit a model school in Delhi to have a closer look at the education system.

3 pm: As part of the CEO roundtable, US President Donald Trump and his delegation will meet the leading business personalities of India at the US Embassy in New Delhi.

8 pm: The US President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump will attend the banquet, which will be hosted by the President of India.

Around 10 pm: Both the couple and the entire US delegation will leave for the airport and depart from New Delhi on Air Force One.

How much is the Modi government spending to receive Trump?

As per a report by the Times of India, the Gujarat state government will spend more than Rs 100 crore to put its best foot forward for the high-profile visit. The report says that around Rs 80 crore will be spent on resurfacing and constructing new roads on Trump’s route.

Apart from the above, Rs 12-15 crore on Trump’s security, Rs 7-10 crore for transport and refreshments of over 1,00,000 guests at Motera stadium and Rs 6 crore for the beautification of the city, including transplanting palm trees on dividers and decking roadshow routes with exotic flowers. Rs 4 crore cultural extravaganza along the Modi-Trump’s roadshow route.

Sources say Melania Trump is likely to watch “Happiness Class” at a Delhi government school. She may visit the school in south Delhi on Tuesday, the second day of the US presidential visit, as a special guest.

The speculation is also high regarding the tour of the most powerful man on the planet. Expectations are flying high that the visit may lead to India and US inking a trade pact and other deals between the two largest democratic nations of the world. Trump is set to inaugurate the world’s largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday.

To Be or Not To Be: The Question of Trade Deals over Trump’s Visit to India

Trump would be the fourth consecutive US president to land on the Indian soil since Bill Clinton’s tour in 2000. George H.W. Bush toured in 2006 and Barack Obama, visited twice-in 2010 and 2015. The visit to Trump will bolster the ties between the two nations. The Indo-US relationship remained estranged during the Cold War as India was close to the Soviet Union while the US was known as an ally of Pakistan at that time.

Limited trade deal on the card

Both countries are looking for each other with the visit of Trump as India and the US are set to make a limited trade deal to decrease India’s trade surplus with the US. As per Indian government officials, there was a time when India’s trade surplus with the US was at $30 billion, the surplus in India’s favour has now narrowed to $16 billion. The Trump administration has been putting constant pressure on India to lessen tariffs to narrow the trade surplus.

The expectation of the defence deal

Ahead of the visit of Trump, a sizeable defence deal is expected between New Delhi and Washington. As per the speculation, a $2.6 billion deal for military helicopters from US defence contractor Lockheed Martin Corp will take place. India is hoping to ink a deal on the release of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the Indian Navy. This deal would be exclusive between two governments, no place for any third party.

The legacy of Indo-US Tie

Unveiling the details of the visit, India’s External Affairs Ministry said in a statement: “During the visit, President Trump and the First Lady will attend official engagements in New Delhi and Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and interact with a wide cross-section of Indian society.” The statement further added the global strategic partnership between India and the US is based on trust, shared values, mutual respect and understanding, and marked by warmth and friendship between the peoples of the two countries.

Energy trades touch USD 8 billion

India and the US are all set to ink on some crude oil and natural gas sourcing agreements. Although energy sourcing from the US is not to be the cheapest option for India, it is helpful to cut the trade imbalance between India and the US. According to India’s ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu that energy trade between two nations touched close to US$8 billion last year.

Shiv Sena condemns wall construction

Ahead of the visit of Trump in India, Shiv Sena has blamed the government, that ongoing war footing preparation for the upcoming visit of Trump is like the visit of a Badshah (King), which shows the “slave mentality” of Indians. Trump will take part in a roadshow along with PM Modi. Preparation is being made to hide poverty from Trump. It is expected that 85 crores will be spent on Trump’s three-hour visit to Ahmedabad.

The construction of a long wall is taking place outside several slum areas in Ahmedabad so that Trump could not see the Indian slums. Trump’s visit will neither improve the conditions of the slum dwellers nor arrest the value of rupees’ fall in the forex market. It is unnecessary wastage of money and nothing else.

The visit of the US is considered a significant one as Trump and Modi will have a dialogue on critical issues including Pakistan, trade deal and other strategic affairs as well.

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Here is What Trump's Schedule will be Like on His Visit; How is Gujarat Preparing to Receive Him
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Here is What Trump's Schedule will be Like on His Visit; How is Gujarat Preparing to Receive Him
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The US President Donald Trump is going to visit India with his wife Melania Trump on February 24 and 25. Expectations are flying high that the visit may lead to India and US inking a trade pact and other deals between the two largest democratic nations of the world. Read the article to know in detail.
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