US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will visit India on February 24 and February 25, the White House said in a statement. Trump is slated to visit New Delhi and Ahmedabad during his two-day visit.
In a statement, White House Press secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “During a phone call over the weekend, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi agreed the trip will further strengthen the US-India strategic partnership and highlight the strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people.”
On Trump’s visit to Ahmedabad, which is in the PM Modi’s home state of Gujarat, the statement said “it played an important role in Mahatma Gandhi’s life and leadership of the Indian independence movement”.
The duo has developed a warm relationship over the past few years, with Modi indirectly endorsing Trump’s second presidential bid during his ‘Howdy! Modi’ event in Houston last year.
While the Indian side would be looking to host a large public event to honour the visiting US President, the brief in the government circles has been that the welcome to President Trump must be “bigger than Obama’s”.
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.
There is likely to be some progress on defence purchases as well and talks are underway between the two sides on the next order for fighter jets. Lockheed Martin has proposed to move its entire F-16 manufacturing base to India if it gets a critical mass order for the fighter jets India is planning to acquire for its defence forces.
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