Trump says US keen to boost defence equipment sales to India
24 February 2020
US President Donald Trump has vowed to boost trade ties between the United States and India, and said the United States is looking to supply India with defence equipment ranging from drones to helicopters and missile systems.
President Trump who alighted at the Ahmedabad airport with his wife and daughter and a delegation of officials and business leaders, was greeted by folk dancers carrying colourful umbrellas dancing alongside the red carpet as drummers, trumpeters and other musicians performed on the airport grounds.
Teeming crowds lined the route along his cavalcade, many clicking pictures on their phones.
The `Namaste Trump’ event also saw the opening of the country’s biggest cricket stadium, that can accommodate around 1,25,000 people.
Speaking at the `Nameste Trump’ event at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, in Ahmedabad, which was attended by more than 100,000 cheering spectators, his biggest rally abroad, the US President promised “an incredible trade deal” and “the most feared military equipment on the planet.”
Trump said he also looked forward to expanding space cooperation between the two nations, and said both sides were at the early stages of reaching an “incredible” trade agreement.
The event at the Motera Stadium saw Indians wearing cardboard Trump masks and “Namaste Trump” hats to welcome the US President.
US officials tout Trump’s visit to India as a way to counter China’s rise as a superpower.
“You have done a great honour to our country. We will remember you forever, from this day onwards India will always hold a special place in our hearts,” Trump said to thunderous applause.
India is one of the few big countries in world where Trump enjoys a high personal rating approval, especially in the backdrop of Washington’s strained relationship with Pakistan.
“As we continue to build our defence cooperation, the United States looks forward to providing India with some of the best and most feared military equipment on the planet,” Trump said, adding that the two countries will sign deals to on Tuesday sell military helicopter deals worth $3 billion.
Trump wants the United States to become the premier defence partner of India, which relied on Russian equipment since the Cold War.
India and the United States, however, are yet to hammer out a trade deal as differences persist over agriculture, medical devices, digital trade and proposed new tariffs. Trump said he was going to discuss economic ties with Modi, even as he described the Indian prime minister as a tough negotiator.
“We will be making very, very major, among the biggest ever made, trade deals. We are in the early stages of discussion for an incredible trade agreement to reduce barriers of investment between the United States and India,” he said.
“And I am optimistic that working together, the prime minister and I can reach a fantastic deal that’s good and even great for both of our countries — except that he is a very tough negotiator.”