indica News Bureau-
US President Donald Trump with First Lady Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner arrived at the Ahmedabad airport, in a Boeing 747 Jumbo aircraft, to a red-carpet welcome by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, along with other dignitaries on Monday.
As per the itinerary, the Trumps first paid a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram where they saw the ‘charkha’ and spun yarn with the help of local workers. PM Modi told them about Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy and simple way of life. PM Modi also presented them with the idol of “three wise monkeys” giving the message ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’, copy of Gandhi’s Talisman or a piece of wisdom as well as a special edition of his autobiography during their visit to the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad as souvenirs.
After the visit to the Ashram, the two premiers and Trumps left for the Motera stadium for ‘Namaste Trump’ event where they were greeted by around 125,000 people. Modi and Trump spoke highly of each other and the friendship between the two countries.
Speaking at the Motera stadium, Narendra Modi welcomed President Trump to the “largest democracy of the world”. “This is Gujarat but the entire country is enthusiastic in welcoming you. India-US relations are far greater and closer today,” he said, stressing on the Indo-US friendship.
Addressing the huge crowd at the stadium, Trump said that he is proud to call Narendra Modi “my friend, he works tirelessly for India”. “America loves India, America respects India and America will always be a faithful and loyal friend to the Indian people”, he 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.
“India gives hope to humanity. In just 70 years, India has become the largest democracy and has become one of the greatest nations in the world. Under PM Modi, villages in India have access to electricity. Over 300 million more have got internet connection. India will soon become the home to the world’s largest middle class. What is impressive is that India has achieved all this as a democracy and as a tolerant country. India’s achievement is unrivaled”, he added.
Appreciating Indian cinema, art and sports, Trump said, “All over the planet people take great joy in watching Bollywood films, bhangra, and classic films like DDLJ and Sholay. You cheer on great cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli,”
After the event, the Trumps left for Agra where they were received by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and state governor Anandiben Patel at the airport ahead on arriving in Agra for a visit to the Taj Mahal.
A giant billboard featuring the US president, First Lady Melania Trump and Prime Minister Modi greeted the couple in Agra with a message – ‘Grand welcome of India’s best friend to the City of Love –Agra’.
Along the route, over 3,000 artistes spread over 21 designated areas are presenting dance forms of Brij, Awadh and other regions, like Krishna Lila. Over 15,000 school students are lining up the streets on the convoy route, holding US and India flags to welcome Trump as his motorcade passes through the city, reported First Post.
After learning about the story behind the Taj Mahal’s construction, Trump wrote “The Taj Mahal inspires awe. A timeless testament to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture! Thank you, India,” in the visitors’ book.
Earlier, US president Donald Trump took to Twitter to express his sentiments about his first official visit to India, which began with a visit to Ahmedabad.
“First lady and I have travelled 8,000 miles around the world to give a message to each citizen of this country – America loves India, America respects India, and the people of America will always be true and committed friends of the people of India,” the American leader tweeted in Hindi.
“America and India will make their countries strong, work for the prosperity of their people, help those who dream big and make the future brighter than ever before…and this is just the beginning,” he said in another tweet.
The Trumps left for New Delhi later in the evening where they will visit the Rajghat and hold a meeting with PM Modi, signing important deals, on Tuesday, February 25.