Trump’s visit should be used to serve national interest, not just for ‘photo op’: Congress

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 21, 2020 Published on February 21, 2020

Former Commerce Minister and Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma   -  THE HINDU

The visit of the US President Donald Trump to India should be used to sort of serious economic issues and be in the national interest and not treated as a popular event, emphasised the opposition Congress.

Former Commerce Minister and senior spokesman of the Congress Anand Sharma said here on Friday that some recent events have cast a shadow on Indo-US relationship. “The US has abolished the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) despite being in an important partnership with India. This eliminates the opportunity for goods produced in India to enter the US market at low costs.”

He added that sovereignty, self-respect and national interest shouldbe kept in mind in the context of the US President’s visit. “Such tours should be serious, not limited to photos ops. As President Trump has said, he has a good relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he has been assured that he will be welcomed by 50-70 lakh people. In such a situation, we hope that the pending issues of the country like H1B visa and GSP will be resolved,” Sharma told reporters at a press conference convened at the AICC headquarters.

Glossing over reality

He alleged that the economically weaker segment of the population has been insulted while arranging for the reception of Trump in Ahmedabad. “Poverty was covered by building a wall. This is the mindset of the BJP government,” he said referring to the construction of a wall allegedly to block out a view of a slum. He also raised questions about the Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti, which is reportedly managing the event. “Is Trump coming to India at the invitation of this committee? When was this committee formed, when did registration take place, where did so much money come from?” he asked and added: “The reality is that all the money belongs to the Government of India and Gujarat.”

“The Gujarat Government has given all approvals, Motera Stadium has been hired, artists from all over India are coming. It’s not under the control of a committee. Special grant has been given to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. We don’t mind, but the government should not lie,” Sharma added.

The veteran Congressman alleged that quotas have been fixed for schools, colleges and universitiesfor participating in the function. “School children will also be lined up. This is the attitude of the BJP. Over 100 teachers have been asked to come from each block. All the hoardings there are not from any committee,” the Rajya Sabha MP added.

Published on February 21, 2020
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