U.S. President Donald Trump’s maiden visit to India will start on February 24 at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and the inauguration of the new Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, the largest cricket stadium in the world.
Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold the “ Kem chho Trump” (Howdy Trump) event at the stadium with approximately 1.25 lakh people witnessing the special programme aimed at showcasing the Modi-Trump bonhomie.
Mr. Trump will be accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump. According to senior officials in Gandhinagar, Mr. Trump will fly directly to Ahmedabad where Mr. Modi will receive him at the airport. They will then visit the Sabarmati Ashram where the Prime Minister will take the President and the First Lady around in the sprawling Ashram, including Hriday Kunj, Gandhiji’s house, where they will operate a spinning wheel ( charkha ).
During their visit to the Ashram, Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn, “ Vaishnav Jan to ” will be played in the background music.
From the Ashram, the Prime Minister will accompany the President and the First Lady to the main event at the stadium in the evening. The event includes a series of cultural pieces curated by high-profile agencies and artistes.
Insiders told The Hindu that the event will be on the lines of the “Howdy Modi!” public reception accorded to Mr. Modi in Houston during his visit to the U.S. last September. Mr. Trump participated in the event attended by around 50,000 people, mostly Indian-Americans.
City gears up
Preparations have been under way in Ahmedabad for the last two weeks with different agencies assigned tasks, including decorating the areas near the Sabarmati Ashram and the cricket stadium, sprucing up roads. The Home Department is making elaborate security arrangements for the VIP event.
As per the instructions from the PMO, the Gujarat government has directed its departments and agencies to ensure that a crowd of 1.25 lakh is organised for the event. The stadium’s seating capacity is 1.10 lakh; 15,000 people will be seated on the ground in front of the stage.
“People from across the country, including top business executives, will be attending the event,” a senior official overseeing the preparations told The Hindu .
In the last one week, teams from U.S. Embassy and different agencies of the Central government, including the Ministry of External Affairs, have visited Ahmedabad to oversee preparations.
Since Mr. Modi became Prime Minister in 2014, Ahmedabad has emerged as the preferred venue to host foreign dignitaries, including President Xi Jinping of China, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.