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Trump Receives Effusive Welcome in India from “My Good Friend” Narendra Modi; 110,000 Gather to Hear him Speak

Feb. 24, 2020 (EIRNS)--Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in India today to an effusive welcome from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who embraced the President warmly, after which Trump traveled to a giant cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, in Modi's home state of Gujarat, to address a crowd of 110,000 people. All attendees were wearing white caps bearing the "Namaste Trump" logo (Welcome Trump) across the front with both countries' flags. Trump recalled the "Howdy Modi" rally they had both attended five months ago in Texas.

Trump gave a very upbeat speech to the crowd, lauding Modi, India's democratic institutions, and the creativity of the Indian people. He emphasized that both the United States and India, while having many differences, "are propelled by a fundamental truth: the truth that all of us are blessed with divine light, and every person is endowed with a sacred soul." He stated that he felt the United States "should be India's premier defense partner." In fact during the trip, a $2.6 billion deal for India to buy 24 Seahawk helicopters from Lockheed Martin is expected to be signed, bringing the total value of U.S. arms exports to India to $20 billion over the past twelve years.

It's not surprising that China's semi-official daily {Global Times} expressed concern in its Feb. 23 article about what Trump's goals for this trip may be, insisting that Modi "must maintain strategic independence in the face of Trump's pressure tactics." Keep in mind that Mike Pompeo and his neocon pals have lectured Modi and other government officials on the virtues of the U.S.'s "Indo-Pacific Strategy"--which seeks geopolticial conflict with China; China's concern is that Trump may do the same. {Global Times} seems sure that Trump will try to woo India to support its Indo-Pacific Strategy, but cautions, "we should expect that a confident and strategically independent India will not change its stance, especially taking into consideration that Trump's plan offers few benefits to India."

On other matters, although Trump has said he wants to also sign a trade deal with India, nothing has been concretized for this visit, as Trump described Modi as "a tough negotiator." The {South China Morning Post} reported that an energy deal is expected to be signed during the visit, by which Westinghouse will build six nuclear reactors in India. In his speech, Trump singled out India's space program for special praise, mentioning its "impressive strides" with the Chandrayaan Lunar Program," and reporting that the two nations are "working closely together on the future of space exploration."

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