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HomeEditorialTrump’s visit to India - Atithi Devo Bhava, overextended

Trump’s visit to India – Atithi Devo Bhava, overextended

Modi and Trump, both rose to power on an exclusive hate campaign, at the heart of which was Trump’s commitment and rhetoric to build a wall at the Mexican border. His arrogant pledge asking Mexico to even pay for such a wall added to his untrustworthy machismo and persona, traits which do matter in the elections to the highest office in the USA. The same is here in India; the political campaign of Modi started with development and narrowed down against one particular family and community. The hate speeches, lies and loose talks were adhered to by his supporters compromising the Interest of Indian citizen. In our fondness for welcoming guests beyond their expectations, we have gone too far in pleasing Trump by offering him a spectacle of a wall on his forthcoming visit.

Donald Trump the businessman, thinks of India as a potential market, a place where he can look for a big business opportunity. Contrary to his persona as a politician, Trump the businessman doesn’t mind doing business in countries where the population are of another colour or religious faith. What he cares is mainly about whether the project will be profitable. There is absolutely no evidence he has negative attitudes about India. Like most businessmen and businesswomen competing in our global economy, he wants America to be successful but he also sees the benefit of utilising some of India’s growing educated workforce. He is always at the peak while appeasing the Indian government and at the same time, Modi keeps no stone unturned while pleasing him.

Trump, the politician, probably has not formulated an official policy about India.  It has rarely come up in his campaign rhetoric to this point.  As someone who has scored political points by demonising religious minorities (Muslims) and ethnic minorities (Mexican-Americans), he has made little effort to rail against Indian-Americans, and yes, there are a sizeable number of Indian-Americans in the US.  He would undoubtedly promote trade and commerce between the two countries while not openly encouraging the shipping of more American jobs to India. Well! he is one of the most powerful political personas at this moment and our government has stretched all its limits to portray Gujarat as development model. Ironically, the ground reality is far from the wall in question. The wall is not to limit illegal migration but to hide the legal citizens of this country. In fact Trump’s good friend Modi, has other tricks up his sleeve to contain the legality of citizens of the land but that’s a different story. Coming back to the wall, the building of walls to hide poverty is not new in this world. Indira Gandhi gave a slogan “Garibi Hatao” to remove poverty while Modi came up with new idea to hide poverty. In preparation for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian government constructed a wall surrounding the Mare Favela complex to hide the poverty of the Favela. When brought to the notice of the world, the Brazilian government came up with a bizarre explanation for the act. The building of wall in Ahmedabad can be inspired from this saga.

Authorities in Ahmedabad expect to spend around ₹80 crore-85 crore which is equivalent to about 1.5 per cent of the annual budget for the home ministry in Gujarat security-related costs, with more than 12,000 police officers expected to be deployed, will account for almost half the expense, said the officials, who declined to be named as they are not authorised to speak publicly about the visit. US President Donald Trump will inaugurate the world’s largest cricket stadium when he arrives in Ahmedabad, the home base of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the start of his two-day visit aimed at smoothing ties strained by trade disputes. Making his first official trip to the world’s largest democracy, Trump is also expected to visit the humble abode of India’s independence hero Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad. The leaders of China, Japan and Israel have all visited Ahmedabad since Modi became Prime Minister. It is the biggest city in Gujarat where Modi made his mark as Chief Minister before BJP swept to power in 2014. If his Indian hosts can help it, Trump probably won’t see a slum as they’ve ordered for a 400-metre wall to be built along his route to block the view of where poor people live. Authorities in Ahmedabad expect to spend around Rs. 80 crore-85 crore ($11-12 million) on preparations for the visit by the American president that is likely to last around three hours, two government officials with direct knowledge of the plans mentioned to Reuters.

Ahmedabad municipal authorities had already spent around 300 million rupees ($4.2 million) on widening roads and improving infrastructure around the new cricket stadium. With capacity for 110,000 spectators, the Motera Stadium will dislodge the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the world’s largest cricket stadium. Eighteen roads of about 20 kilometers (12 miles) in length from Ahmedabad Airport to Motera Stadium have been widened or re-laid. A further 60 million Indian rupees ($840,000) will go on “beautification” of the city, including erecting the wall to spare Trump’s view. More than 100,000 participants had registered so far to greet Trump as he heads from the airport to the city centre. Trump said last week Modi had promised “millions and millions” of people would line his route. Trump may also visit the famous Taj Mahal monument in the city of Agra, and all leave for police officers in that city has been cancelled, according to a document seen by Reuters.

At this moment the Indian economy has slowed down, the country is going through financial crunch and challenges, reserves of the Reserve Bank have shrunk and our country is making huge expenses on one visit of Trump. Trump is counting his days in office and his visit serves no purpose. Also, the US is no more a mighty, they themselves have agreed that India is a developed nation. Sadly, we still bend over backwards to welcome foreign leaders especially if they happen to be from West while other visiting dignitaries get not so grand reception always. This shows we are still having a colonial hangover and to us, a white man is always superior. This has got to change.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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