New Delhi: The public reception for President Donald Trump in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat will include an exhibition of Mahatma Gandhi’s life and 28 snippets from India’s rich and diverse culture in a manner “unparalleled” in history.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said at a press briefing here on Wednesday that “the highlight of the program in Ahmedabad will be the exhibition of India’s rich and diverse culture and heritage to President Trump in a public manner that has few parallels in India or elsewhere.”
The February 24-25 trip will be Trump’s first state visit to India and also a first standalone visit by a US President to India. It will be brief but intense, with all essential elements of a state visit squeezed in 36 hours. Besides New Delhi, Trump will visit Ahmedabad and Agra.
From the moment of Trump and First Lady Melania’s arrival at the airport on February 24, the delegates will be treated to a display of famed Indian hospitality and India’s unity in diversity, Shringla said.
In Trump’s honor, an event which has been named ‘Namaste Trump’ will be held at the newly reconstructed, largest cricket stadium in the world at Motera, Ahmedabad. The event will be similar to the ‘Howdy Modi’ event which was hosted by the Indian-American community for Modi in Houston last year.
In what is being billed as the great ‘Indian road show’, as many as 28 stages representing various parts of the country are being set up along Trump’s route from the airport to the stadium in Ahmedabad.
The show will depict different events in the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Tens of thousands of people, including artistes showcasing their art from different states and Union Territories, are expected to greet Trump along the way.
From Ahmedabad, the President Trump and First Lady will fly to Agra where they will spend an hour at India’s iconic monument Taj Mahal before the sunset.
On February 25, the US President and the First Lady will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. This will be followed by a visit to Rajghat where the couple will pay respects at the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi.
President Trump and Prime Minister Modi will hold restricted and delegation-level talks on strategic partnerships at the Hyderabad House. Later, Modi will host a lunch for Trump, following which the two leaders will address the media.
In the afternoon, Trump is expected to attend certain private events at the US Embassy, including a private roundtable with industry representatives. Trump’s last meeting will be with President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the evening before he leaves for the US.
President Trump will be accompanied by at least three members of his cabinet and son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner on the India visit. The three secretaries will be Steve Mnuchin of treasury, Wilbur Ross of commerce and Dan Brouillette of energy, according to media reports.
The state department will be represented by the US ambassador to India Ken Juster, as all other officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are staying back in Washington DC for a conference of heads of US missions from all over the world.
A half dozen high profile Indian Americans are also likely to be part of
Trumpʼs delegation to India.