The United States President Donald Trump will soon visit India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host the welcoming ceremony of President on 24 and 25 February 2020 in New Delhi and Ahmedabad. The brief trip will be heavy on optics, it seems. Range of topics from India’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill to their desire of purchasing 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters from the United States will be on a definite list of discussions.
Trump will attend a speech by Modi called ‘#KemChhoTrump’ (How Are You Trump) at the newly constructed Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. The stadium which the world’s biggest cricket stadium overtook Australia’s Melbourne Cricket Ground to receive the maximum number of feats. The event is inspired by “Hello, Modi” or more commonly called “Howdy, Modi!” event that took place in Houston.
The visit comes at a time when Trump has just emerged unscathed from impeachment proceedings in the United States Senate. His popularity in the US is at a record high. He is also being considered as the frontrunner for the US presidential elections of 2020. Visiting India can boost Trump’s popularity to record high as India holds major clear stands with the US on global happenings. Barring Iran, the two countries are on the same page on most strategic matters. Well, at least this is what is believed!
US Administration under Trump has become contentious, the government has imposed tariffs and reduced or removed existing duty privileges. India too has not been spared, Trump abolished the special trade privilege given to India in 2019 and has recently classified India as a ‘developed’ nation. This will eliminate the preferential treatment India received in countervailing duty investigations. It also makes it easier for the US to penalise India if it harms US’ industries with unfairly subsidised exports.
Local bodies in Ahmedabad are building a half-a-kilometre long wall on the stretch that leads to Gandhinagar from the Ahmedabad airport to conceal city’s slums. The government has termed the move as a beautification drive and ‘not so unusual’ for a country to host a global leader.
US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take the route on February 24, 2020, for their roadshow when the two will visit the state for a massive event at world’s largest cricket stadium. Similar drives were also held when Japan Prime Minister and China’s President visited India in 2017 and 2014 respectively.
World’s second-largest importer arms importer and fifth-largest economy, India has requested the US authorities for approval of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the Indian Navy. The deal worth USD2.6 billion is in the pipeline to its final phase. The United States has recently approved the sale of an Integrated Air Defence Weapon System to India at an estimated cost of USD1.8 billion.
The United States holds down the number 2 spot in India’s arms supplies with Russia remaining at the top. India also bought Russian made S-400 missile system in 2018 which prompted the US to impose sanctions on the country under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
India and United States recently concluded their first land, sea, and air military exercise. The exercise, Tiger Triumph, brought 500 American soldiers to train side-by-side with 1,200 Indian soldiers, sailors, and air force personnel. The exercise completed one of the goals of a defence pact between the two countries signed in 2018.
Trump has been critical over share of defence technology and weaponry systems with other countries, but the Indian foreign policy has done some magic over their US counterparts that they agreed to sell some of their most advanced technologies. The meeting could also focus on signing of new defence or weapon agreements between the Indian security forces and the US administration.
Although, India and the United States have been friendly countries for decades but US’ interference in India-Pakistan issues and anger over trade deals could also become major exchange during Trump’s visit. As India tries to expand its military capabilities and boost its economy, US’ focus will be more on limiting Indian weapon capabilities to maintain peace in the region.
And the rest will be concluded after Trump’s GOODBYE from India. Till then, rumours will just be rumours, unless US President Trump or India’s PM Modi comment on the recent hustle faced worldwide.