Trump, Modi to discuss security, counter-terrorism; defence deal on cards

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump at the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston. Photo: Reuters
Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said India and the United States (US) were likely to discuss issues related to security, counter-terrorism and regional issues, including Pakistan, during President Donald Trump's two-day visit from February 24. 

“Thre is strong cooperation between India and the US which reflected in the support we recieved after the deadly Pulwama attack. We expect discussions around security, investment, counter-terrorism and exchange of view on regional and multilateral issues with the US,” MEA Spokeperson Raveesh Kumar said. 

The two leaders, who have met eight times in the past four years, will engage in bilateral discussions on February 25. The two sides were likely to sign a defence deal, said Kumar. Details of the deal are yet to be revealed. Reports suggested both countries, after earlier imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on each other's imports, were now separately working on a limited trade agreement ahead of the Trump visit. But the government said a trade deal was unlikely. 

President Trump will also meet the executives of Indian companies with business interests in the US during his visit to New Delhi at an event organised by the US embassy. 

US President Donald Trump (left) and First Lady Melania Trump (right) receive Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a meeting at White House on June 27. Photo: Reuters

On his maiden visit to India as US president, of a little over 36 hours, Trump will first arrive in Ahmedabad on February 24 with First Lady Melania Trump. In Ahmedabad he will be welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Highlighting the President’s itinerary, Kumar said the two leaders would inaugurate Motera cricket stadium, the world’s largest, before emplaning for Agra.  

The Indian government is going all out to welcome the US president in Gujarat, which had earlier hosted China’s Xi Jinping and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu. Authorities in Ahmedabad are expected to spend around Rs 85 crore on preparing for Trump's visit to the city -- of about three hours -- according to two government officials with direct knowledge of the plans whom Reuters spoke to.

Donald Trump will arrive in India on February 24.

Organised by the Donald Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti, the “Namaste Trump” event in Ahmedabad is being touted as a reciprocal to the “Howdy Modi” event organised in Houston, Texas, last year which had been attended by Trump. Following the event, Trump and the first lady will fly to Agra and visit the Taj Mahal before reaching Delhi in the evening. 

POTUS's visit will conclude with an early banquet dinner, following which he will depart for Washington. Meanwhile, the US has already denied speculation of Trump visiting Pakistan, stating its a standalone visit. 

The MEA has said that the US President will witness India’s rich diversity and culture during his visit. 

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