The friendship between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump has survived a slap on the wrist, outrage over the latter’s mediation offer on Kashmir and a vague rebuke over India’s “very high” tariffs. And now, after turning down earlier invitations, the US President will finally be in India in a couple of days.
Trump, whose off-the-cuff remarks have sent the Indian government into damage control mode several times (see here and here), has a packed schedule over his two-day visit, ranging from attending an extravagant event at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad to potentially fending off raucous monkeys at the Taj Mahal.
The highlight will undoubtedly be the ‘Namaste Trump’ event — on the lines of ‘Howdy Modi’ at Houston in the US last year — in Ahmedabad, though the government is now facing uncomfortable questions about the mysterious organisation that is apparently paying for it.
While his “good friend” Modi is going OTT in the preparations, Trump’s visit begs the question: why now? Why is the US President visiting India during the heat of election campaign there? What does he hope to gain out of this trip?
After Trump took office in 2017, Modi had invited him to visit India during a telephonic conversation, but that didn’t materialise.
Have also invited President Trump to visit India.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 25, 2017
Trump also turned down India’s invitation to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in 2019 due to “scheduling issues”. He was again invited by Modi last year to visit India while addressing the ‘Howdy Modi’ event.
“We want you to come to India with your family, and give us the privilege of welcoming you. Our friendship, and the Indian-American shared dream...we will give it a new future,” Modi said during the event.
HuffPost India spoke to two...