AGENCIES, Washington: US President Donald Trump says that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expecting to turn out massive crowds for the President when he visits next week. Trump will be in Ahmedabad to attend an event called ‘Namaste Trump’ at a under-construction cricket stadium.
Trump avoided a question about trade with India to say how much he likes Modi, adding that the Prime Minister expects some 7 million people to turn out for him between the airport and the cricket stadium.
“The stadium I understand is sort of semi under construction, but it’s going to be the largest stadium in the world, so it’s going to be very exciting,” Trump told reporters.
In preparation for Trump’s visit, a half-kilometre brick wall has been hastily erected, with critics saying it was built to block the view of a slum area inhabited by more than 2,000 people. Senior government officials, however, said the wall was built “for security reasons” and not to conceal the slum.
As for trade, Trump played down expectations for any major breakthroughs next week, saying, “I’m really saving the big deal for later on. I don’t know if it will be done before the election, but we’ll have a very big deal with India.”
Trade tensions between the two countries have escalated since the Trump administration levied tariffs on steel and aluminum from India. India responded with higher tariffs on agricultural goods and restrictions on US medical devices, prompting the US to retaliate by removing India from a decades-old preferential trade programme.