Washington: Looking forward to be with the people of India, US President Donald Trump on Sunday left for a historic visit to the country, which officials said will “demonstrate strong and enduring ties” between the two largest democracies of the world and significantly ramp up the defence and strategic ties.
Trump is accompanied by First Lady Melania, daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and the top brass of his administration.
Just before his departure, Trump said he had committed to visit India long time back and he is looking forward to be with the people of India.
“I look forward to being with the people of India. We are going to have many millions and millions of people. It’s a long trip. I get along very well with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi. He is a friend of mine,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.
“I had committed to this trip long time ago. I look forward to it. I hear it’s going to be a big event… The biggest event they ever had in India. That’s what the Prime Minister told me. Its’ the biggest event they ever had. It’s going to be very exciting. I am going to be there for one night,” said the US President in response to a question.
Trump’s maiden visit to India is expected to significantly ramp up bilateral defence and strategic ties but unlikely to produce tangible outcome in resolving thorny issues like trade tariffs.
The nearly 36-hour-long visit by Trump is also set to send across a clear message of growing congruence of interests on major geopolitical developments in the region and beyond, particularly when China has been expanding its military might and economic clout.
“We are wheels up for India, where @realDonaldTrump & @FLOTUS have a full agenda building upon our many shared values and strategic/economic interests. Looking forward to a trip meant to further demonstrate the strong and enduring ties between our two countries!” the White House tweeted.
Trump will have a brief re-fuel stopover in Germany en-route to India.
Trump, who is seeking re-election in the US presidential elections in November, will arrive on Monday around noon in Ahmedabad.
Modi is expected to receive Trump at the airport.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to greet Trump in a massive roadshow in Ahmedabad before he arrives at the newly-built Motera cricket stadium, which has a capacity of over 1,00,000 people, for the ‘Namaste Trump’ event.