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Sunday, April 05, 2020

Trump’s visit will go a long way in cementing India-US friendship: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said India and US share a common commitment to 'democracy and pluralism' and both nations are cooperating extensively on a wide range of issues

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 12, 2020 12:44:17 pm
donald trump, narendra modi trump india visit Prime Minister Narendra Modi with United States President Donald Trump at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas during the ‘Howdy! Modi’ event last year . (Source: Twitter/BJP)

Ahead of US President Donald Trump’s India visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said both countries share a common commitment to “democracy and pluralism” and the visit will go a long way in further cementing India-US friendship.

Trump, along with First Lady Melania Trump, is slated to visit India from February 24 to February 25.

In a tweet, PM Modi said, “Extremely delighted that @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS will visit India on 24th and 25th February. India will accord a memorable welcome to our esteemed guests. This visit is a very special one and it will go a long way in further cementing India-USA friendship.”

“India and USA share a common commitment to democracy and pluralism. Our nations are cooperating extensively on a wide range of issues. Robust friendship between our nations augurs well not only for our citizens but also for the entire world,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Trump said he was looking forward to his first visit to India and indicated that the two countries might sign a trade deal.

Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “friend”, Trump said, “He (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) is a friend of mine. He’s a great gentleman and I look forward to going to India. So, we’ll be going at the end of the month,” Trump told reporters in his Oval Office on Tuesday.

Trump will visit New Delhi and Ahmedabad in Gujarat, which is the home state of PM Modi. He will be given a grand reception at the new Motera cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, which is being billed as the largest stadium in the world.

During Trump’s visit, a slew of deals on trade and defence are on the table as India seeks to elevate the strategic partnership with the US.

When asked about signing of a trade deal with India, the US president said, “They (Indians) want to do something and we’ll see…if we can make the right deal, (we) will do it.”

Trump also said he called Modi over the weekend and the PM told him that “millions and millions of people” would welcome him from the airport to the Motera stadium.

Referring to Monday’s New Hampshire rally, where he was attended by an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people, the President said in a lighter vein that he might not feel so good with that number.

“When we have 50,000 people, I’m not going to feel so good… we’ll have five to seven million people just from the airport to the new stadium. And you know it is the largest stadium in the world. (They are) building it now. It’s almost complete and it’s the largest in the world,” Trump said.

In a statement on Tuesday, the White House Press secretary Stephanie Grisham had said that President Trump’s trip would further strengthen the US-India strategic partnership and highlight the “strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people”.

Trump, who is facing elections later this year, is expected to wrap up issues related to trade and defence deals which he can showcase in his campaign.

India is demanding exemption from high duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products, resumption of export benefits to certain domestic products under their Generalised System of Preferences, greater market access for its products from sectors, including agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering.

On the other hand, the US wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items and medical devices and cut on import duties on some ICT products. The US has also raised concerns over the high trade deficit with India.

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