Trump refers to Modi as ‘friend’, hopes to receive a spectacular welcome with ‘millions’ of people

Ritu Jha-

Briefing the media minutes before his departure to India, US President Donald Trump said he was looking forward to meet the people of India since a long time. He departed for his maiden voyage to India on Sunday with Lady Melania, daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner. He will arrive in India on February 24, Monday. Trump referred to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his ‘friend’, whom he is looking forward to meet.

During his visit to India, Trump and Modi will engage in talks and the two countries are expected to sigh deals related to defense and strategies, strengthening their bilateral relations.

“I had committed to this trip long time ago. I look forward to it. I hear it’s going to be a big event..the biggest event they ever had in India. That’s what the Prime Minister told me. Its’ the biggest event they ever had. It’s going to be very exciting. I am going to be there for one night,” said the US President in response to a question.

The US President will have a brief re-fuel stopover in Germany, the Hindu reported.

In recent days, Trump has talked about the crowds he expects to see in India, telling reporters that Modi promised him seven million people would line the streets between the airport and stadium.

“He said we will have millions and millions of people,” he said.

Dinsha Mistree, a research fellow and lecturer in the Rule of Law Program at Stanford Law School in California said that both the countries have regional security interests, and high level dialogue can promote a closer level of cooperation in this domain as well.

“President Trump’s maiden visit to India could not come at a better time. Modi has heavily focused on communalism at the expense of economic growth in recent months, and although issues like the citizenship amendment bill and Kashmir are unlikely to be publicly addressed, Trump’s upcoming visit has the potential to trigger are renewed focus on economic issues”, he told indica.

He further said like his predecessors, Trump is likely to be warmly received in India. Just a few weeks before Trump was set to jet off to India, the president sent aides scrambling with the seemingly last-minute decision to hold a rally with 110,000 people at the world’s largest cricket stadium — a colossal structure that’s not even technically open yet, reported Politico.

“Trump is known to enjoy his share of pomp and pageantry and India should not disappoint”, he added.

“This is a loud and boisterous country, and that exactly in some ways really fits with the Trump style,” said Tanvi Madan, director of the India Project at the center-left Brookings Institution. “I think the optics — he will get more of them than other presidents do, because I think the Indians recognize that that is something that he will want.”


“I’ve always said the president is the greatest showman of our time, which in politics is a good thing,” said Ohio state Rep. Niraj Antani, one of the few elected Indian-American Republicans in the U.S. and a Trump supporter whose family hails from Modi’s home state, where the rally will be held.

In their talks on Tuesday, Trump and Modi are likely to focus on a wide variety of bilateral and regional issues including trade and investment, defense and security, counter-terrorism, energy security, religious freedom, proposed peace deal with Taliban in Afghanistan and situation in the Indo-Pacific, according to Indian and US officials.