The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said the “Namaste Trump” event to welcome United States President Donald Trump in Ahmedabad next week will be similar to the “Howdy Modi” event held in Houston last year to honour Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The highlight of the programme in Ahmedabad will showcase India’s rich and diverse culture and heritage in a public manner that has few parallels in India or elsewhere,” said ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar at a press conference in Delhi.
Trump will land in Ahmedabad around noon on February 24 and attend the event at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, the world’s biggest cricket stadium, Kumar added. The US president will address a joint event with Modi at the stadium.
“[On] the route from the airport to the stadium, we expect a large number of people will line up,” the spokesperson said, referring to the roadshow where Trump had claimed seven million people would come. “The artisans will showcase their skills, performing arts from different states and Union Territories of India.”
On bilateral talks between Modi and Trump, Kumar said all matters related to defence and security, trade and investment and people-to-people engagement will be discussed.
“We are eagerly looking forward to President Donald Trump’s visit, it will strengthen our global strategic partnership,” Kumar added.
The ministry said the event is being organised by the Donald Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti.
India-US trade deal
Kumar said Trump’s remarks that the US is “not treated very well by India” need to be viewed in terms of balance of trade. “US is India’s largest trading partner in goods and services combined,” he said. “There has been a consistent growth in trade in the last few years.”
The foreign ministry spokesperson said efforts have been taken by India to address the concerns of United States. “US is sixth largest source of crude oil imports,” he said. “Steps taken will bridge trade deficit.”
The US president had on Tuesday said he was “saving the big deal for later on”. Both India and United States have repeatedly resolved to strengthen trade ties but attempts at working out an agreement failed even during Modi’s visit to Houston in September.
Kumar said India hopes to reach an understanding with Trump, but would not like to rush into a deal as matters involved are complicated. “We don’t want to create an artificial deadline,” he added. “For us the interests of people are paramount.”
Negotiations between India and the US have centred around preferential access to the Indian market for American makers of stents and other medical devices as well as dairy farmers. India has offered the United States partial access to its poultry and dairy markets in an effort to sign a limited trade deal, a report said on February 14.
India is the world’s largest milk-producing country. However, it has hesitated to open its dairy market in order to protect the livelihoods of eight crore rural households engaged in the industry.