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Namaste Trump: All you need to know about the visit

#Jumla7MillionKa twitter trend, silver key and peacock dance, ‘happiness class’ for Melania, and a host of agreements
A life size cut-out of U.S. president Donald Trump stands on a road divider, ahead of his visit in Ahmedabad, on Saturday

OUR BUREAU   |   New Delhi   |   Published 23.02.20, 12:29 PM

Presidential suite


Happiness class for Melania

In New Delhi

Trump’s Delhi visit will begin with a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan where he will be given a Guard of Honour. After that he will go to Raj Ghat where he will lay a wreath on Mahata Gandhi’s samadhi. The US president will then go to Hyderabad House for formal discussions and signing of agreements.

While Modi will host a lunch for Trump at Hyderabad House, President Kovind will host a dinner banquet at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Mysterious organiser

Wah Taj!

Another wall

US president Donald Trump will be arriving in Ahmedabad around noon on Monday, February 24, for a less than 36-hour visit to India, accompanied by a high-level delegation including First Lady Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and a host of senior US officials.

Nearly one lakh people are expected to line up along the 22-km route of a road show that has been planned for his welcome in Ahmedabad where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will receive him.

The number is much less than what the US president has been claiming. In a video dated 19 February, Trump said, '7 million (70 lakh)' people will be there on the road show route.

That’s a bit much, given that the total population of Ahmedabad is estimated to be around 70 lakh to 80 lakh. But that did not stop Trump from upping his claim two days later February 21, when he is seen exclaiming on video that 10 million people would congregate to greet him in Ahmedabad.

This has prompted Opposition parties in India, especially the Congress, to take jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who Trump said had informed him of the 7 million figure. #Jumla7MillionKa trended on Twitter all day on February 22.

According to the road show plan, Trump and Modi will first visit Sabarmati Ashram, a place that is closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi. From there, they will head to the newly-built cricket stadium in Motera where Trump will address a large gathering along with Modi for what is being billed as the “Namaste Trump” event.

No trade deal

Trump's itinerary

February 24

11:55am – Arrival at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad

Road show

12:30pm – Namaste Trump at Motera Stadium

3:30pm – Depart for Agra

4:45pm – Arrival at Agra

5:10pm – Taj Mahal tour

6:45pm – Depart Agra

7:30pm – Arrive at Palam Airport, Delhi

8:00pm – Check–in at ITC Hotel Maurya

February 25

9:55am – arrive at Rashtrapati Bhavan for Ceremonial Reception

10:45am – wreath laying at Rajghat

11:25am – POTUS and FLOTUS will arrive together at Hyderabad House. Melania will then leave for the Delhi govt school

Bilateral meeting followed by joint press statement

Trump Modi lunch at HH

2:55pm – Arrival at US Embassy, Roosevelt House (Ambassador's residence) for CEO Roundtable

4:00pm – Meet Embassy officials and staff

4:45pm – Retire to Hotel Maurya

7:25pm – Arrival at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Meet President Kovind

8:00pm – State banquet

10:00pm – Depart for US via Germany

Talks agenda

US First Lady Melania Trump is likely to visit a Delhi government school and attend a “happiness class” that aims to help children relieve stress, hold meditation sessions and discuss issues that are troubling them. It is a school programme Delhi’s AAP government has been lauded for running for the last one and half years. Melania is supposed to spend about an hour interacting with students and teachers. This will be the first time an American First Lady will be visiting a school in the National Capital. The name of the school has been kept under wraps for security reasons.

According to the ministry of external affairs, the Namaste Trump event is being organised by a private entity, “Donald Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti”. On Thursday, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar referred to the group as the ones who were responsible for organising the event. He said it would be organized on the lines of the Howdy Modi event in Houston, USA, with the private group deciding on whom to invite. It is still not clear when this organization was formed.

India and US will hold delegation level talks. Energy secretary Dan Brouillette is expected to be part of the entourage along with senior officials like, treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and National Security Agency (NSA) director Gen. Paul Nakasone.

India and the US are likely to finalize five pacts, including on trade facilitation, homeland security and intellectual property rights. A $2.6-billion deal for 24 Seahawk helicopters for the Indian Navy is also on the cards.

The US has already said that it is unlikely a trade deal would be inked with India during the Trump visit, indicating that concerns which led to India's removal from the Generalized System of Preferences persisted. US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, who has been negotiating a trade deal with India, is not travelling with Trump on this trip. In fact, he had cancelled his earlier trip to India as well. On Friday, Trump had said India must lower tariffs, complaining it has been hitting the US “very hard'.

Trump who is a big fan of walls, is getting one in Ahmedabad. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is building a wall to mask the Dev Saran slum that is on the route the US President will take during the scheduled road show.

In another slum, close to the Motera Stadium that Trump will inaugurate, 45 families have been handed eviction notices ahead of the event.

The Trumps will travel to Agra on Monday afternoon and visit the Taj Mahal before arriving at the national capital for the main leg of the visit.

Upon his arrival in Agra, Trump will be handed a silver key weighing 600 gm by the city administration, as a welcome gesture.

Trump and Melania are likely to be welcomed with a peacock dance performance by 350 artistes at the airport. As per News18, as many as 3,000 dancers have also been roped in to perform at 16 spots on the route that leads to the mausoleum, while another 500 artistes would dress up as Radha and Krishna.

Pictures of Modi and Trump have also been put up on walls along with slogans like, “Radhe-Radhe Trump” and “Jai Shree Krishna Trump”.

Thousands of school children with US-India flags in their hands will greet the couple on their way to the Taj Mahal. The Agra Municipal Corporation is getting the walls around the monument painted, while machines have been engaged to clean approach roads.

Yamuna water

The Uttar Pradesh irrigation department has released 500 cusecs of water into the heavily polluted Yamuna river from Ganganahar in Bulandshahr in an attempt to get rid of the foul smell that emanates from the river because of pollution.

Keeping with tradition, Trump will be staying at the Grand Presidential Suite of the ITC Maurya where former US presidents George Bush and Barack Obama also stayed when they visited Delhi. The entire floor is out of bounds for most hotel staff for security reasons. The hotel will be out of bounds for other guests during the time Trump and his entourage will be there. All 438 rooms of the five-star property have been booked.

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