U.S. President Donald Trump to visit India on February 24 and 25: White House

President Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump will visit Ahmedabad and New Delhi

February 11, 2020 05:06 am | Updated 10:35 pm IST - Washington

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the ‘Howdy Modi: Shared Dreams, Bright Futures’ event on Sept. 22, 2019, in Houston.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the ‘Howdy Modi: Shared Dreams, Bright Futures’ event on Sept. 22, 2019, in Houston.

U.S. President Donald Trump will visit India on February 24 and 25, as per an official announcement from the White House on Monday.

Mr. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will visit New Delhi and Ahmedabad. The White House said Ahmedabad was chosen for the visit as Gujarat was home to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and played an “important role” in Mahatma Gandhi’s life.

“The President and The First Lady will travel to New Delhi and Ahmedabad, which is in Prime Minister Modi’s home State of Gujarat and played such an important role in Mahatma Gandhi’s life and leadership of the Indian independence movement,” a statement from the Office of the Press Secretary said

Also read: ‘Howdy, Modi’: PM cheers for Trump 2.0

Prime Minister Modi and Mr. Trump had spoken over the weekend, the White House said. “During a phone call over the weekend, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi agreed the trip will further strengthen the United States-India strategic partnership and highlight the strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people.”

The Hindu has learned that India’s newly appointed Ambassador to the U.S., Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who presented his credentials to Mr. Trump last week, also handed over an official invitation to the President to visit India. (The White House had waited for this prior to announcing the visit officially).

Preparations are underway in India. American security teams with scanners and equipment arrived in India last week.

Trade deal

The Indian and the U.S. sides are trying to put together a limited trade deal which Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump will sign during the visit.

The two leaders could not sign on the dotted line when they met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September and talks had continued since then.

Sources close to the negotiations told The Hindu last week that while they were “hopeful” a deal would be reached before Mr. Trump’s visit, it was not a given, as there were gaps in the negotiating positions of the two sides.

A defence deal is also reportedly on the cards. India is preparing to approve a $ 2.6 billion deal for 24 MH-60 Seahawk helicopters from Lockheed Martin, as per a Reuters report.

( With inputs from Suhasini Haidar in New Delhi ).

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