Motera to Taj, Trump woos India on day one; all eyes on Tuesday talks
Feb. 25, 2020

US President Donald Trump reached Delhi in the evening after wrapping the first leg of the two-day-long trip to India on Monday. Accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, the US President earlier reached Ahmedabad directly from Washington.

As the Air Force One touched down on the Ahmedabad tarmac, Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the US President in his traditional style with a display of Indian culture. The two world leaders then left for Motera Cricket Stadium to attend the “Namaste Trump” event, a reciprocal of the “Howdy Modi” organised in Houston, Texas in 2019.

Heaping praises on PM, Trump while addressing the massive crowd gathered since 8 am, said Modi's rise from his humble background as a "chai-wallah" (tea-seller) underscored the "limitless promise of the great nation". Everybody loves him, Trump said of Modi adding that the prime minister is a very "tough" negotiator. "Prime Minister Modi, you are not just the pride of Gujarat. You are a living proof that with hard work and devotion Indians can accomplish anything, anything at all, anything they want," Trump said amid loud cheers from an estimated one lakh-strong audience at Motera stadium.

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On his maiden visit to India as US president, Trump also invoked Swami Vivekananda, a revered spiritual leader who has often been described by Modi as an inspiration to him and touched on the reach of India's popular culture. “All over the planet people take great joy in 'bhangra' and watching bollywood films like DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) and Sholay,” he said while also mentioning cricketing greats Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli.

"India and the US are committed to fight terrorists and their ideology; that is why my government is working with Pakistan to crack down on terror groups," Trump said in the presence of his family --daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner-- and top brass of his administration. "The US will always be a faithful and loyal friend of India. Thank you for the spectacular welcome," he added.

Ahead of reaching Motera, the prime minister accompanied the president and first lady to Sabarmati Ashram, where they tried their hands at spinning the 'charkha' (spinning wheel). "To my great friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi, thank you for this wonderful visit," Trump wrote in the Ashram visitors' book. The US President was briefed about Gandhiji and the importance of charkha as a symbol of self-reliance.
Meanwhile, a marble replica of Mahatma Gandhi's "three wise monkeys" statue, a copy of his Talisman or a piece of wisdom as well as a special edition of his autobiography were among the items gifted to US President Donald Trump. The sculpture was a replica of the statue that was gifted to Gandhi by a Japanese monk way back in 1933, a trustee of the Sabarmati Ashram said.