Trump ‘looking forward’ to visit India; Modi says it will be ‘memorable welcome’
Speaking about the Indian Prime Minister, Trump said: "He (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) is a friend of mine. He's a great gentleman."
US President Donald Trump has said that he is looking forward to his visit to India later this month and that he would sign a trade deal with Prime Minister Narendra Modi if it was “the right one”.
"I look forward to going to India," the Republican leader told reporters in the Oval Office, a day after the White House announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump will be travelling to Ahmedabad in Gujarat and New Delhi on February 24 and 25.
President @realDonaldTrump & @FLOTUS will travel to India from February 24-25 to visit Prime Minister @narendramodi!— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 10, 2020
The trip will further strengthen the U.S.-India strategic partnership & highlight the strong & enduring bonds between the American & Indian people. ???????? ????????
"He (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) is a friend of mine. He's a great gentleman," Trump said in response to a question.
Meanwhile, Modi tweeted on Wednesday that he was "extremely delighted" that the US President and First Lady will visit India.
Extremely delighted that @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS will visit India on 24th and 25th February. India will accord a memorable welcome to our esteemed guests.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 12, 2020
This visit is a very special one and it will go a long way in further cementing India-USA friendship.
India and USA share a common commitment to democracy and pluralism. Our nations are cooperating extensively on a wide range of issues. Robust friendship between our nations augurs well not only for our citizens but also for the entire world.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 12, 2020
The US President said that he spoke to Modi over the weekend and during the conversation, the Prime Minister told him that millions and millions of people would welcome him from the airport to the cricket stadium.
Referring to his New Hampshire rally held a day earlier, which was attended by an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people, Trump said in a lighter vein that he might not feel so good with that number.
"When we have 50,000 people, I'm not going to feel so good… we'll have five to seven million people just from the airport to the new stadium. And you know it is the largest stadium in the world. (They are) building it now. It's almost complete and it's the largest in the world," Trump said.
Responding to a question on a potential trade deal with India, Trump said that he will do it, if "we can make the right deal".
India and the US have been trying to reach a limited trade pact with lower tariffs, but talks have run into problems over issues with data privacy and e-commerce controls.
Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, had travelled to India twice, in 2010 and 2015.
India is seeking exemption from high duties imposed by the US on certain steel and aluminium products as well as resumption of benefits on tariff on certain products under their Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
New Delhi is also pressing Washington to facilitate greater market access for its products in the US in sectors such as agriculture, automobile, auto components and engineering.
On the other hand the US wants greater market access for its farm and manufacturing products, dairy items and medical devices in India.
In 2018-19, India's exports to the US stood at USD 52.4 billion, while imports were USD 35.5 billion. Trade deficit dipped from USD 21.3 billion in 2017-18 to USD 16.9 billion in 2018-19.
India received FDI worth USD 3.13 billion from the US in 2018-19, higher than USD 2 billion in 2017-18.
India had invited Trump to grace the Republic Day parade as the chief guest last year but the US President could not come due to scheduling issues.