‘Namaste Trump’: Modi holds huge rally for president’s visit
Donald Trump was cheered by more than 100,000 Indians at the opening of the world’s biggest cricket stadium on Monday, promising “an incredible trade deal” and “the most feared military equipment on the planet” at his biggest rally abroad.
Indians wore cardboard Trump masks and “Namaste Trump” hats to welcome the U.S. president at the huge new Motera stadium in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s own political homeland, the western city of Ahmedabad.
Modi, a nationalist who won re-election last year and has shifted his country firmly to the right with policies that his critics decry as authoritarian and ethnically divisive, touts his relationship with Trump as proof of his own global standing.
U.S. officials have described Trump’s visit as a way to counter China’s rise as a superpower.
“You have done a great honour to our country. We will remember you forever, from this day onwards India will always hold a special place in our hearts,” Trump said to thunderous applause.
India is one of the few big countries in world where Trump’s personal approval rating is above 50%. It has built up ties with the United States in recent years as Washington’s relationship has become strained with India’s foe Pakistan.
“As we continue to build our defence cooperation, the United States looks forward to providing India with some of the best and most feared military equipment on the planet,” Trump said.
Trump said the two countries will sign deals to on Tuesday sell military helicopter deals worth $3 billion and that the United States must become the premier defence partner of India, which relied on Russian equipment since the Cold War. Reuters reported earlier that India has cleared the purchase of 24 helicopters from Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) worth $2.6 billion.
Modi embraced Trump as he stepped off Air Force One, along with his wife, Melania. Trump will visit the Taj Mahal in Agra and hold official meetings in Delhi during his trip.
Folk dancers carrying colourful umbrellas danced alongside the red carpet as drummers, trumpeters and other musicians performed on the airport grounds to welcome Trump and the U.S. delegation. Teeming crowds lined the route along his cavalcade, many clicking pictures on their phones…….read more