U.S. President Donald Trump to visit India on February 24 and 25: White House

 thehindu.com  02/11/2020 04:41:59  9

U.S. President Donald Trump will visit India on February 24 and 25, as per an official announcement from the White House on February 10 afternoon.

Mr. Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump will visit Ahmedabad and New Delhi.

The White House said Ahmedabad was chosen for the visit as it was in Gujarat  home to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that it had played an important role in Mahatma Gandhis life.

The President and The First Lady will travel to New Delhi and Ahmedabad, which is in Prime Minister Modis home state of Gujarat and played such an important role in Mahatma Gandhis life and leadership of the Indian independence movement, a statement from the Office of the Press Secretary said.

Also read: Howdy, Modi: PM cheers for Trump 2.0

The Ministry of External Affairs also confirmed the visit. "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," a press release from the MEA announced.

Prime Minister Modi and Mr. Trump had spoken over the weekend, the White House said. During a phone call over the weekend, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi agreed the trip will further strengthen the United States-India strategic partnership and highlight the strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people.

The Hindu has learned that Indias newly appointed Ambassador to the U.S., Taranjit Singh Sandhu who had presented his credentials to Mr. Trump last week also handed over an official invitation to the President to visit India. (The White House had waited for this prior to announcing the visit officially).

Preparations in India are underway. American security teams with their scanners and equipment had already arrived in India last week.

The Indian and the U.S. sides are trying to put together a limited trade deal which Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump will sign on to during the visit.

The two leaders could not sign on the dotted line when they met on the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly in September and talks have continued since then.

Sources close to the negotiations had told The Hindu last week that while they were hopeful a deal would be reached before Mr. Trumps visit, it was not struck as there were gaps in the negotiating positions of the two sides.

A defence deal is also reportedly on the cards. India is preparing to approve a $2.6 billion deal for 24 MH-60 Seahawk helicopters from Lockheed Martin, as per a report by Reuters.

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