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US President Trump is all praise for India — here's what it means according to experts

Updated : February 24, 2020 09:00 PM IST

US President Donald Trump on Monday received a gala reception in Ahmedabad. Prime Minister Modi was at the tarmac to welcome the US president and the first lady. Trump's daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are also part of the delegation visiting India.

Their first stop was the Sabarmati Ashram --- the president and the first lady paid their respects to Mahatma Gandhi. Trump also left a message on the visitor's notebook thanking Modi for the visit.

From the Sabarmati Ashram, both leaders embarked on a 22-kilometre roadshow with thousands of people waving at the convoy. The destination of the roadshow was the Motera Stadium which can house more than a lakh people and is the largest cricket stadium in the world.

In a speech that lasted 30 minutes. The US president thanked India for the spectacular hospitality and talked about the popularity of Indian cinema as well as Indian cricketers. He singled out Pakistan when speaking about combating terror and also added that Pakistan is making progress.

Trump confirmed that both nations will sign defence deals worth $3 billion. He even held out hope for a large trade deal between both nations calling Prime Minister Modi a "tough negotiator."

To discuss the US president's visit and its implications, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Senior Adviser at CSIS Richard Rossow, CEO at Caliber Home Loans Sanjiv Das and Former Indian Envoy to Denmark and Director and co-founder of Gateway House Neelam Deo.

According to Rossow, even though the two countries are still not able to reach an agreement on trade concessions, the fact that the two leaders are getting along fairly well is a positive sign. "The fact that India is choosing to buy from the US in key areas such as hydrocarbons and defence has helped to blunt what otherwise could be a very contentious period in trade ties. I think we will see some trade concessions in the next couple of weeks even if they don't happen during the visit," he said.

Das observed that Indians in America will feel honoured by the US President's visit to India. "Let us not forget it is an election year, so I am sure that it will have some positive correlation to his visit and the Indian votes during the elections," he noted.

Deo drew attention to the picture-perfect optics. "Not only was the prime minister praised for his achievements, the country was praised, the unity between different religions, different parts of the country, the achievements on the economic side, the fact that poverty would be eliminated altogether in the next 10 years, the many achievements that he listed out when he was speaking, I would say that speech went exactly as our own government would have wished it to go. The visit to the Taj Mahal almost always is picture perfect, the fact that this visit began with a stop at Gandhi Ashram, so all the right buttons have been pressed. However, none of this means that talks tomorrow will not be difficult or that there will be no pressure on bilateral issues," she added.
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