US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (February 12) said that he is looking forward to his visit to India later this month.
“I look forward to going to India,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, a day after the White House announced that he will be travelling to New Delhi on February 24 and 25.
The president also indicated that he is willing to sign a trade deal with India if it is the right one. “They (Indians) want to do something and we’ll see… if we can make the right deal, (we) will do it,” said Trump, a fortnight ahead of his visit to the country as the 45th US president.
In addition to New Delhi, he will stop at Ahmedabad in Gujarat to address a joint public meeting with Modi at a stadium.
Trump said that he spoke to Modi over the weekend and during the conversation, the Prime Minister told him that millions of people would welcome him from the airport to the cricket stadium.
The two leaders are expected to joint address a massive public rally at the newly build Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Trump jokingly told reporters that now he will “not feel good” about the size of the crowd that he addresses in the US which is usually between 40,000 to 50,000. “He (Modi) said we will have millions and millions of people. My only problem is that last night we probably had 40 or 50,000 people… I’m not going to feel so good… There will be five to seven million people just from the airport to the new stadium (in Ahmedabad),” Trump said.
“And you know (it) is the largest stadium in the world. He’s (Modi) building it now. It’s almost complete and its the largest in the world,” Trump said.
Being built at an estimated cost of $100 million, the Motera Stadium with a seating capacity of 100,000 spectators will be the world’s largest cricket stadium overtaking the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia.
Over the last three years, Trump and Modi have developed a personal friendship and in 2019, the duo met four times including their joint address before a strong 50,000 crowd of Indian-Americans in Houston.
This year, they have spoken over the phone on two occasions, including the one over the weekend. “He (Narendra Modi) is a friend of mine. He’s a great gentleman,” Trump said.
India’s new Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu said Trump’s forthcoming visit is a “reflection of the strong personal rapport” between Trump and Modi. “It also demonstrates their strong desire to take the relationship to new heights,” said Sandhu, who had presented his credentials to Trump in Oval Office last week.
(With inputs from agencies)