New Delhi: India on Thursday made it clear that the coming address by US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi before a large crowd at Ahmedabad’s massive Motera Cricket Stadium on February 24 is not designed to influence the American presidential elections or domestic politics there, adding that the “Namaste Trump” event was being organised by a private body called the “Donald Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti” (Citizens Felicitation Committee).
On the two nations not signing a trade deal anytime soon, New Delhi said that India “does not want to rush into a trade deal” and it also “does not want to create artificial deadlines” because the “issues involved are complicated, with many decisions potentially having real impact on people’s lives and long-term economic consequences”.
President Trump, accompanied by his wife Melania, will be on a two-day visit to India on February 24-25, during which they will land in Ahmedabad at noon on February 24, followed by a two-hour stop in Agra to see the iconic Taj Mahal before sunset that same evening, and then on to New Delhi later that evening.
The next day (February 25), the US President will hold official talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when the India-US strategic partnership incl-uding defence, security, counter-terrorism as well as trade and energy, will be discussed.
The revelation by the external affairs ministry that the “Namaste Tru-mp” event was organised by the “Donald Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Sam-iti” on February 24 drew sharp reactions from the Congress, which demanded details regarding this forum and when it had invited President Trump for the event.
Dismissing any speculation that the Motera Stad-ium address was a political one that may electorally benefit President Tr-ump — who is reportedly eyeing the Gujarati Indian American vote in the US — just months before America’s November elections, MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said: “I don’t think we view this joint address by the two leaders as directly intended to influence the internal politics of the US. Even in the past, several leaders (including) US Presidents have also held public events in India, even though on a much smaller scale.” It may be recalled that the “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston in the US last year, that was also addressed by the two leaders, had resulted in some controversy after some commentators felt Trump was appealing for votes of Indian-Americans.