US Prez announces $3 bn defence deal with India
Ahmedabad/Agra: Massive amenity and bonhomie was witnessed at the 'Namaste Trump' event in Ahmedabad on Monday as two world leaders Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump heaped praises on each other with the latter saying: "America loves India, America respects India and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people." He also announced defence deals between the two countries worth $3 billion and even spoke of both the nations being in the early stages of discussion for an "incredible" trade agreement to reduce barriers of investments, which will be among the "biggest ever".
"We are in the early stages of discussion for an incredible trade agreement to reduce barriers of investments, between the US and India and I am optimistic that working together, the Prime Minister and I can reach a fantastic deal that's good and even great for both of our countries," Trump said, adding the Indian Prime Minister is a "very tough" negotiator.
"As we continue to build our defence cooperation, the US looks forward to providing India with some of the best and most feared military equipment on the planet. We make the greatest weapons ever made. We make the best and we are dealing now with India," he said.
Trump added that Prime Minister "Modi is an exceptional leader" and has already made significant reforms in his country, and the world is looking forward for even more rapid improvement in India's business climate.
The remarks of the US president on a trade agreement with India assume significance as there were expectations of announcement of a deal during his visit.
India is seeking resumption of export incentives by the US, under its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme.
Under this, India had earlier exported goods worth $6.5 billion. So if the US would resume these incentives, it would seek greater market access equivalent to this amount at least.
Trump started his two-day visit to India with a huge campaign-style rally in the home land of Modi. The 36-hour long trip of Trump and First Lady Melania started from Ahmedabad where he was joined by the Prime Minister for an unprecedented roadshow and a historic joint address at mega event "Namaste Trump" at the Motera Stadium in front of a record crowd of more than one lakh people.
Speaking at the venue, the US President praised Modi and listed achievements of his government. He also thanked people of India for a 'spectacular welcome', saying that "India will hold a very special place in our hearts from this day on".
Welcomed with a warm hug at the Ahmedabad airport by the Prime Minister, folk dancers carrying colourful umbrellas danced alongside the red carpet as drummers, trumpeters and other musicians performed at the airport to welcome the Trumps and the entire US delegation.
Pulling out all stops to make this jamboree a global show-stopper, Modi spoke first, exhorting the crowd to chant Bharat Mata ki Jai followed by Namaste Trump.
Welcoming the US President to the "world's biggest democracy", the Prime Minister said ties between India and the US are no longer just another partnership but have touched far greater heights.
The US President and his wife Melania also paid their tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram. Modi showed Trump and the US First Lady 'Hriday Kunj', a room inside the Ashram where Gandhiji and his wife Kasturba lived and explained the importance of this place in India's freedom struggle.
During the visit, Trump and Melania also tried their hands on the khadi spinning wheel, also known as "charkha". Before leaving, Trump wrote a message in the visitors' book: "To my great friend Prime Minister Modi — Thank you for this wonderful visit." Modi also presented "Three Wise Monkeys," a larger version of one belonging to Mahatma Gandhi, as a memento to the US President. Trump and Modi then resumed their roadshow till Motera Stadium.
"Namaste, it is a great honour for me to be here," the US President said describing India as an amazing nation.
"As the world's largest economy, India gives hope to all humanity and has become an economic giant," he added.
The US President also invoked Swami Vivekananda during his speech at mega event. He also touched on India's cultural diversity and riches as he highlighted the success of its blockbuster movies like DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) and Sholay, and its sporting icons like Sachin Tedulkar and Virat Kohli.
The US President and First Lady also visited the iconic Taj Mahal as they marvelled at the famed 17th century Mughal-era mausoleum. Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner were also present.
President Trump and the First Lady held hands as they strolled on the manicured lawns and later wrote in the visitors' book: "The Taj Mahal inspires awe. A timeless testament to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture. Thank you India."
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