New Delhi” The opposition Congress on Friday welcomed US President Donald Trump’s coming visit to India but cautioned the government to take the utmost care to ensure that it did not turn into a Trump re-election campaign in the Indian diaspora.
“We feel this visit should not become a link to the re-election campaign of the US President. The outcome of this visit should be in national interest,” said senior Congress leader Anand Sharma.
The Congress said the three things that needed to be kept in mind are the sovereignty, self-respect and national interest of India. “Such tours should be serious and not limited to photo-ops, the Congress leader remarked.
The former Union Minister said: “The Congress understands Indo-US relations and supports it… the Congress wants the GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) regime to be brought back as Indian manufacturers are suffering and it has impacted small workers in the country.”
“As Trump has said, he has good relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he has been assured that he (US President) will be welcomed by 50-70 lakh people during his visit. In such a situation, we hope that the pending issues of the country like H1B1 visa, GSP etc will be resolved,” the Congress leader added.
However, the Congress questioned who all were managing the proposed Ahmedabad visit of Trump, as the government said it was the “Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti”.
“We have come to know that a quota has been fixed for schools, colleges and universities (to send students for Trump’s welcome). School children will also be lined up. As many as 100 teachers have been summoned from each block. All the hoardings put up there are not by any committee. The Gujarat government has given all approvals; Motera Stadium has been hired, artistes from all over India are coming. It’s not under the control of a committee. A special grant for the visit has been given to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. We don’t mind, but the government should not lie (about the arrangements),” a Congress leader said.
The party asked if the government was paying for the event, why was it hiding the fact.
The Congress said it has not received any invitation yet for its leaders to meet US President Donald Trump on his upcoming visit to India.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said “we have not received any invitation from the government side and neither from the US.”
“If any invitation will come then we will take a view on it,” Sharma said when asked.
While Leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad may be invited to the President’s reception but the party chief has not been given any invite.
The Congress is the principal opposition party and visiting foreign dignitaries also meet Congress leaders as Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajpaksa met Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh during his visit.
The Congress said that any relationship with the US should be a standalone relationship and it should not affect India’s relationship with other countries including Russia as India should not accept a “big brother” treatment from the US and it should be on an equal footing, said Sharma.
“Three things that need to be kept in mind in this journey are – sovereignty, self-respect and national interest of India,” Sharma added.