This is for the first time in the history of Gujarat that a sitting US President will be visiting here. In Ahmedabad, Donald Trump will address the ‘Namaste Trump‘ event jointly with PM Modi at the newly built Motera cricket stadium billed to be the world’s largest cricket stadium with over 1-lakh spectator capacity. Being built at an estimated cost of $100 million, the Motera Stadium will be the world’s largest cricket stadium overtaking the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia. They will participate in a roadshow themed ‘Unity in Diversity’ to the stadium where ‘Namaste Trump’ event is being organised. Around one lakh people from across Gujarat have been invited to welcome them. More than 100,000 participants have registered so far to greet Trump as he heads from the airport to the city centre.
This event is similar to the landmark ‘Howdy, Modi!’ (Here “Howdy” means Kem cho” in Gujarati) event hosted by the Indian-American community in honour of Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Houston in September 2019, in which President Trump participated. Around 28 stages representing the various parts of the country are being set up along the route, in what is being called the India Road Show and the route will also feature decorations depicting different events in the life of Gandhiji, whose association with the city is so well-known. It is said that the defence deal is likely to be the highlight of the visit given that a limited trade deal the two sides were looking to clinch is not expected to happen.
Donald Trump looks at this as a political opportunity to garner support from the Indian-Americans back home. One must remember President Trump who stated in his speech, after PM Modi welcomed him to speak, calling him “my friend, a friend of India, the great American President Donald Trump”, also appealed to the four-million strong Indian American community to vote for him, saying he was the best US president for strengthening India-US ties. An important constituency of Trump’s voters has been Hindu non-resident Indians, who made large donations and came out in strong support during the 2016 US presidential election. Similarly, the NRI vote is crucial, and of that pie, Gujaratis have a large share in it.
Trump’s visit will be brief but intense, with all essential elements of a State visit, and two additional legs in Ahmedabad and Agra, all squeezed into less than 36 hours. There is no doubt that the relations between India and the US are stronger than ever before. The visit of Donald Trump will more be grounded in our common values and our shared commitment to democracy when our PM Modi’s leadership in the world is being witnessed as a strong, driving and thriving republic of India. Both India and the US also understand that to keep our communities safe we must protect our borders.
In preparation of Trump’s visit, Gujarat government and the Ahmedabad administration have stepped up the renovation and the beautification process in the city. The leaders of China, Japan and Israel have all visited Ahmedabad since Modi became prime minister. Ahmedabad is the biggest city in Gujarat, the western state where Modi has made his mark as chief minister before his Hindu nationalist party swept to power in 2014. It is also reported that Modi and Trump will have lots to dialogue and debate about. India and USA share a common commitment to democracy and pluralism and there is no doubt that Donald Trump’s visit to India will strengthen India-US friendship.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of AFTERNOON VOICE and AFTERNOON VOICE does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.