Trump, Modi to discuss defence, security, energy

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 19, 2020 Published on February 19, 2020

A file picture of workers at the Sardar Patel Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad which will host the Namaste Trump event on Monday   -  Vijay Soneji

US President, first lady to visit Ahmedabad, Agra, New Delhi in 36-hour trip

US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will discuss issues related to Indo-US strategic partnership in the areas of defence, security, counter-terrorism, as well as trade, energy and people-to-people exchanges at their bilateral delegation-level talks in New Delhi on February 25.

“They would also exchange views on regional and global issues of shared interests,” said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla at a press briefing on Wednesday.

The US President and his wife Melania Trump will spend less than 36 hours in India but are scheduled to pack in three cities — Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi — and numerous events during the short visit.

He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation which is likely to include US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Senior Advisor to President Jared Kushner.

No trade deal for now

While a trade deal will not be signed by the two countries, there could be progress on a number of defence deals. India and the US could sign a deal worth $2.6 billion for 24 MH60 Rome multi-mission helicopters for the Indian Navy.

There could also be forward movement on a number of other deals including one for six Apache attack helicopters for the Indian Air Force.

“These deals are part of the ongoing talks and cannot be linked to the outcome of the visit. However, some of them like the deal for navy helicopters may come through during the visit,” a source close to the matter said.

Trump and the First lady will arrive in Ahmedabad on February 24 before noon from where they will travel to the at the newly built Motera Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad where he will address the “Namaste Trump” event jointly with Modi.

The couple would then visit Agra, where they would spend about an hour at the Taj Mahal before the sunset. They would then come to New Delhi.

The next day, which is the main day of engagement, President Trump and the First Lady would be accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

He would subsequently attend the delegation-level talks with Modi at Hyderabad House. The two leaders would also address the media.

This is when the First Lady is likely to visit a school in the city, which could be her only solo event.

In the afternoon, Trump is expected to attend some private events at the US Embassy, including a private roundtable with industry representatives.

He will end his visit following a banquet hosted by the President at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on the evening of February 25.

Published on February 19, 2020
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