Trump arrives in New Delhi for key talks with Modi

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-25 01:33:46|Editor: ZD
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U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands at Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, India, Feb. 24, 2020. Trump arrived in India's western state of Gujarat on Monday for a two-day state visit to the country. (Str/Xinhua)

by Pankaj Yadav

NEW DELHI, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in the Indian capital city on Monday evening, nearly eight hours after landing in the western state of Gujarat for a two-day state visit.

Accompanied by First Lady Melania, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, the U.S. president spent a hectic day in two Indian cities - Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Agra in northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Immediately after landing in Ahmedabad, Trump attended an event "Namaste Trump" where he was welcomed by nearly 125,000 people at the world's biggest cricket stadium "Motera." With Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by his side, Trump addressed the mammoth gathering, saying that India-U.S. ties were growing even as both had natural and enduring friendship between them.

Lauding India's economic growth over the years, Trump said that since the turn of the century India's economy had grown six times.

"I am pleased to announce that tomorrow our representatives will sign defence deals worth over 3 billion U.S. dollars to sell the absolute finest state-of-the-art military helicopters and other equipment to the Indian armed forces," he said.

The U.S. president then left for the second leg of his visit to the Agra city and spent nearly an hour at the world heritage site, the Taj Mahal, built in the 17th century with white marble.

He walked hand-in-hand with wife Melania in the gardens in the forecourts of the monument, which is counted among the seven wonders of the world.

Finally, he arrived in the Indian capital, where he is scheduled to hold one-to-one meeting with Prime Minister Modi and delegation-level talks with the Indian leadership.

Both sides are expected to sign several key pacts, including the defence deals worth over 3 billion U.S. dollars, and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) in various areas.

India had expected to sign a major trade deal during Trump's visit. However, a couple of days ago Trump had ruled it out, saying "We can have a trade deal with India, but I'm really saving the big deal for later on. We're doing a very big trade deal with India. We'll have it. I don't know if it'll be done before the election, but we'll have a very big deal with India."

Trump had been pushing India to lower its tariffs on American goods and allow more U.S. exports, as his country had been having a trade deficit with India. Last year, the United States had a trade deficit of 23.2 billion U.S. dollars goods with India, its nine largest trading partner in goods.

Since Trump took office in 2017, long-standing trade differences between the two sides have come to the fore, with Trump calling India the "tariff king." In his speech at the Motera Stadium, Trump described Modi as a "tough negotiator."

In recent years, the two sides have tussled over everything from tariffs on farm goods to Harley Davidson motorbikes and price caps on medical devices.  

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