People of two countries will always remain true friends, says the US president, as he begins India visit
GN Bureau | February 24, 2020
America loves India, America respects India, said US president Donald Trump as he and first lady Melania Trump began their short visit of India from Ahmedabad on Monday, welcomed by prime minister Narendra Modi.
The US president was in Ahmedabad, in Modi's home state of Gujarat, to attend the ‘Namaste Trump’ event at the cricket stadium on the outskirts of the city. The event is reminiscent of ‘Howdy Modi’ in Houston held late last year to felicitate the Indian prime minister.
On landing, Trump was greeted by Modi with a hug and a handshake. The visitors first went to the Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi, a venue not missed by other visiting dignitaries from abroad, and proceeded to the stadium. The record-breaking crowd there was addressed by Trump and Modi.
“The first lady and I have travelled 8,000 miles across the world to come here and deliver a message to every citizen of this country. America loves India. America respects India. People of two countries will always remain true and committed friends,” Trump said at the event. He had also tweeted this message in Hindi before arrival. “India and the US have a natural and enduring friendship. There is a difference between a nation that rises by coercion and one that rises by setting people free, that is India,” added Trump, making his first visit of India as president.
Recalling the ‘Howdy Modi’ event, the prime minister told the crowd, “Today my great friend Trump has started his journey in India in Ahmedabad with ‘Namaste Trump’.” The crowd shouted ‘Long Live India-US friendship.’
The Trumps were on the way to Agra soon to have a view of the Taj Mahal, and will arrive in Delhi by evening. On Tuesday, he and Modi will hold talks in which bilateral as well as global issues are expected to come up.
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