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India greets heartily Donald Trump and his family in Ahmedabad, Agra on Day 1

India greets heartily Donald Trump and his family in Ahmedabad, Agra on Day 1

| @indiablooms | 24 Feb 2020, 05:21 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: It was an eventful first day for US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on their maiden visit to India on Monday which was marked by the ever-growing 'bromance' with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, iconic visits to Sabarmati Ashram and the Taj Mahal among others, but was also speckled towards the end with his arrival in the national capital in the evening which saw violence claiming three lives during the day over the anti-citizenship law protest.

After his grand arrival in India, PM Modi personally welcomed him at the Ahemdabad airport.

Trump is also accompanied by his daughter Ivanka during his India visit.

Trump's visit to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad:

In Ahemdabad, President Trump participated in a massive roadshow followed by a visit to Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram.

It was a picture-perfect moment when Melania and Donald Trump also spun the wheel (charkha) during their visit to the venue.

While leaving the iconic Ashram, interestingly Trump hailed PM Modi and thanked him for the hospitality in India, however, not mentioning a word about Mahatma Gandhi, which was his home between 1917 and 1930 during India's freedom struggle.

In his message, Trump wrote: "To my great friend Prime Minister Modi - Thank you for this wonderful visit." It was also signed by Melania.

Namaste Trump Event at Motera Stadium:

Following the visit, Trump was then hosted at a massive event in the world's largest cricket Motera Stadium of the city called 'Namaste Trump.'

With conch shells, trumpets and smiles on their faces, thousands of people lined up on the side of the road as Trump's cavalcade passed through the roads of Ahmedabad on its way to Motera Stadium.

Amid several protests in India over the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which aims to grant citizenship to all non-Muslims who came to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan before 2015, Trump hailed the country for its religious diversity.

Speaking at the Namaste Trump event to a mammoth gathering, the US President said: "America loves India, will always be faithful and loyal friend."

"America respects India and America will always be a faithful and loyal friend to the Indian people" he maintained.

On defence front, Trump announced: "As we continue to build our defence cooperation, the US looks forward to providing India with some of the best and most feared military equipment on the planet. We make the greatest weapons ever made. We make the best and we are dealing now with India."

Another deal close to conclusion is of six additional AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for the Indian Army. They will cost around 930 million dollars.

He said the United States and India are firmly united in their resolve to defend citizens from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.

"While the United States will always welcome people who share our values, our borders will always be closed to terrorists and to terrorism and to any form of extremism," he declared.

However, Donald Trump also noted that the US is in good terms with Pakistan and are working closely with the Islamic country to crack down on terrorism.

"My organisation is working very closely with Pakistan to crack down terrorism and militancy that operate on the Pakistani border. Our relationship with Pakistan is a very good one...We are beginning to see signs of good progress with Pakistan," he said.

He said India has to shoulder an important role in maintaining peace in the South-Asian region.

PM Modi also addressed the people and said that "in the last few years, the new highs that the trust between India and US has reached is historic."

"The core principle of a relationship between two people or countries is trust. Friendship is where trust is unshakable and the bond between the two countries is natural," he said.

Trump touched the right chord when he mentioned Bollywood films like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (he mentioned it as DDLJ), cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli and hailed the nation for people of all faiths living together and praying together. 

Trump's visit to Agra:

Ending his Ahmedabad spectacle Trump accompanied with his wife arrived at Agra for perhaps the most exciting part of their visit and took a leisurely trip of the "majestic Taj Mahal" in the evening.

Giving a photo-op to the world media, the US President and the First Lady walked hand-in-hand during their exploration of the 16th-century mausoleum, famous worldwide as the symbol of love, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Their visit lasted close to an hour.

Image credit: US Embassy India

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath received the Trumps at Kheria Airport in the city.

The road leading to the Taj Mahal from Kheria Airport were decked up for his visit. The local administration had ordered for closure of the monument from 12 noon in the view of the US president's visit.

Massive billboards have been put up and roundabouts decked up with American and Indian flags to welcome the US President.

"The Taj Mahal inspires awe. A timeless testament to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture. Thank you India," President Trump wrote in the visitors' book before leaving for Delhi.

Trump's arrival in Delhi:

Meanwhile, even as Delhi turned into a fortress in view of Trump's arrival here, the city was marked by massive violence over the citizenship law, which claimed a life of a policeman and two civilians.

On Monday afternoon, the situation turned violent in various places in North-East Delhi after pro CAA protesters engaged in a clash with anti CAA agitators.

A petrol pump, several houses and vehicles, including police cars and a public bus, were set on fire.

When police tried to intervene in the clash, protesters pelted stones aiming at police force while it was witnessed that an 'unidentified' man fired multiple round of bullets in front of cops.

A head constable of Delhi Police, Rattan Lal, was killed after being hit by a stone in Gokulpuri area while several other policemen, including a DCP, were seriously injured during the hour-long violence. Besides, two civilians were also killed in the clash.

Hours after the clash, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said that the situation in the violence-hit areas of Delhi had been brought under control.

Meanwhile, security agencies are strictly monitoring the entry and exit gates of the ITC Maurya, the hotel hosting the Trumps.

Tuesday will continue to be a packed-up day for the American President who will hold talks in Delhi and a trade deal will be high on the agenda.


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