08 Feb 2020
On India trip, Trump likely to visit Ahmedabad, Delhi, Agra
US President Donald Trump is taking a leaf from his 'friend' Prime Minister Narendra Modi's book.
Just like PM Modi flew to the US and addressed a massive rally in Houston, Texas, last year, Trump wants to address one in Ahmedabad.
The POTUS is expected to arrive in India for a three-day trip on February 23. He will also visit Delhi and Agra, reports HT.
Acquitted by Senate, Trump's next stop is India
The biggest roadblock for Trump's maiden visit to India, his impeachment trial, has been removed. The Republican was on Wednesday acquitted on two articles of impeachment by the Senate.
Riding on this win, Trump is set to embark on one of the few solo bilateral visits.
Though White House is yet to officially announce the trip, both sides are working diligently for it.
Trump might finally sign trade deal that's been on hold
On Thursday, India's new ambassador to the US, Taranjit Sandhu, called on the Oval Office to present his credentials.
"The President fondly recalled his friendship with PM Modi and their several interactions," the Indian embassy said.
The much-awaited trade deal is expected to be signed when Trump visits India. But people in the know suggested that the trip shouldn't be solely linked with it.
Tough negotiator Robert Lighthizer could iron out differences with India
To ensure things sail smoothly, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer is expected to arrive in India next week. He has nurtured a relationship with Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal over several calls.
The US is upset with the tariffs announced in last week's Union Budget.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman levied a 5% health cess on medical devices, barring those exempt from customs duty.
Both US and India hope to build on September talks
The last time negotiators from both sides sat on the table was in September and the current talks will be built on it.
This time the conversations will be centered around some relief to the US on medical device price caps, restoration of India's Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) tag, and agricultural products.
The US is also eyeing a deal on dairy products.
Trump wants votes of Indian-Americans, hence, the Ahmedabad rally
Even if the deal falls flat, Trump has high hopes from the upcoming visit. The President, seeking re-election, wants to drive the Indian-American community away from Democrats.
In 2016, he made the first attempt to reach out to the community by addressing a gathering, exclusively meant for Indian-Americans, in Edison, New Jersey.
He is eyeing substantial votes from New Jersey and Texas.
After Ahmedabad, Trump will arrive in Delhi
On February 24, Trump will arrive in Delhi and stay for the night. It wasn't clear if like his predecessors Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, he will also address the Indian Parliament.
It's also unknown if Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka, a key figure in India-US relations, will be part of his team.
The same day he will visit Agra before returning home.