US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump upon their arrival at the AFS Palam in New Delhi, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. Trump is on a two-day visit to India. | PTI
File photo of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump | PTI
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New Delhi: US President Donald Trump began his less than 36-hour trip to India Monday in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi received him at the airport with a hug.

Trump, who is accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, first visited the Sabarmati Ashram where he spun the charkha.

The Prime Minister and I will continue to talk about how to strengthen this critical partnership, Trump later told a large crowd at the Motera Stadium at the ‘Namaste Trump’ event.

Here are updates from day one:

21:18pm: On Tuesday, Trump’s day will begin with a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan around 10am, followed by a visit to Rajghat.

Thereafter, the US President will have a meeting with PM Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House and later a press statement.

He is scheduled to meet President Ram Nath Kovind around 7:30pm before leaving India at 10pm.

19:30pm: Donald Trump lands at Palam Airport in Delhi after a hectic day of travel. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri receives him.

18:30pm: What are the 3 biggest takeaways for India from Donald Trump’s speech? The experts weigh in, read here.

17:45pm: Taj Mahal is a ‘timeless testament’ to the Indian culture, writes Donald Trump in the visitor’s book.

17:00pm: Donald Trump reaches Taj Mahal.

16:40pm: Donald Trump tweets that Constitution of India and US both begin with ‘We the people’.

16:20pm: Donald Trump lands in Agra. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath receives him at the airport.

On his arrival at the airbase, over 250 artistes drawn from different parts of Uttar Pradesh performed Mayur dance’, Rai folk dance’, Dhobia folk dance’, ‘bamrasia’ dance.

The city has been spruced up to welcome Trump amid a huge security deployment.

Massive billboards bearing greeting messages dotted the nearly 13-km route of his convoy while major street roundabouts are decked up with US and India flags.

15:30pm: ‘People of America will always remain true and sincere friends of the people of India,’ Donald Trump tweets after concluding speech at Motera Stadium,

15:20pm: Delhi police issue traffic advisory ahead of Trump’s arrival in Delhi.

Officials says traffic in the capital, mostly central Delhi, will be affected today and tomorrow due to security measures put in place.

15:00pm: ‘Spectacular,’ says Ivanka Trump after conclusion of Namate Trump event.

14:40pm: Trump heads to the airport to leave for his next stop, Agra.

14:35pm: Trump and his entourage will head to Agra next where they will see the Taj Mahal. In his speech, Trump said both the First Lady Melania and himself were looking forward to seeing the monument.

14:33pm: Namaste Trump event concludes. Modi and Trump leave the stage.

14:30pm: Modi cheers the India-US friendship. Chants “long live, long live” as crowd in the stadium repeat his chants.

14:29pm: PM Modi says there are new opportunities in new India for the US, including opportunities for investment.

14:27pm: The Prime Minister says India and US share a “natural partnership” and claims that a new chapter in India-US ties has begun.

14:25pm: “Friendship is where trust is unshakable… In the last few years, the new highs the trust between India and US has reached is historic,” says Modi.

14:20pm: PM Modi takes to the stage after Trump’s speech. Says he’s witnessed the “rise in this trust in my visits to the US”.

“I vividly remember when I met POTUS Trump for the first time in Washington, he had said that India has a true friend in the White House,” says Modi.

14:16pm: Trump thanks India for a phenomenal welcomes, says, “We love you India,” as he concludes his address.

14:14pm: US President Donald Trump mentions Bollywood, says India produces 2000 films yearly, including great romantic movies like DDLJ.

14:13pm: In his speech at the Namaste Trump event at Motera stadium, President Trump said US had good ties with Pakistan, and said he was hopeful of reduced tensions in the region.

“Our relationship with Pakistan is a very good one. Thanks to these efforts we are beginning to see signs of big progress with Pakistan, he says.

14:12pm: India, US committed to fight terrorists and their ideology, says Trump.

He says since taking office, his administration has been working in a very positive way with Pakistan to crackdown on the terrorist organisation and militants that operate on the Pakistani border.

14:10pm: Trump says India and US have natural and enduring friendship.

14:07pm: Extreme poverty in your country will be eliminated in next 10 years, states US President Trump at ‘Namaste Trump’ event.

14:03pm: In American and in India, we know that we are all born for a higher purpose.. to reach our fullest potential, to walk toward excellence and perfection and to give all glory to God, says Donald Trump.

14:02pm: India’s rise as an independent and prosperous nation is an example to every nation all over the world and one of the most outstanding achievements of our century, says Trump.

He says it is more inspiring because India has done it as a democratic and peaceful country.

“There is difference between nation that rises by coercion and one that rises by setting people free — that is India,” he says.

13:55pm: ‘Namaste and hello to India’, Donald Trump begins his speech at Motera Stadium.

He calls Modi an ‘exceptional leader’, ‘great champion’ and his ‘true friend’. Trump also says American will always be ‘a faithful and loyal friend’ to the Indian people.

13:49pm: India-US not just a partnership, it’s a relationship, says PM Modi at ‘Namaste Trump’ event.

‘New history is being created,’ he says.

13:48pm: PM Modi welcomes US President Trump and his family at Motera Stadium.

13:15pm: PM Modi says ‘electric atmosphere’ at Motera Stadium, the venue for the ‘Namaste Trump’ event.

13:00pm: PM Modi, US President Donald Trump head for Motera Stadium to attend the ‘Namaste Trump’ event.

12:40pm: Trump, Melania try their hand at spinning the charkha at the Sabarmati Ashram.

12:30pm: US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump reach Sabarmati Ashram. PM Modi shows them around the ashram where Mahatma Gandhi had spent 13 years during India’s freedom struggle.

Meanwhile, the menu at the ashram, has created quite the stir on social media. The ‘VVIP hi-tea menu’ comprises Khaman (dhoklas) and broccoli & corn button samosas. It also has tender coconut water (in a tetra pack) and assorted canned guava and orange juice, as a welcome drink. Read the full report here.

12:10pm: US President Donald Trump leaves for Sabarmati Ashram. On the way, he will witness a massive roadshow.

Dance groups and singers from different parts of the country will be performing on stages dotting the 22-km route of the ‘India roadshow’ in Ahmedabad that has been spruced up for his visit. There is one stage for every state on the route.

11:55am: PM Modi receives US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the airport.

11:39am: US President Donald Trump lands in Ahmedabad.

11:29am: PM Modi replies to Trump’s tweet in Hindi with ‘atithi devo bhava’.

10:55am: US President Donald Trump will attend the ‘Namaste Trump’ event after witnessing a roadshow in Ahmedabad.

Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump are expected to land at the Ahmedabad International Airport around 11.40 am.

With a capacity to accommodate 1.10 lakh spectators, the Motera cricket stadium, also known as Sardar Patel Stadium, dislodged Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia to become the world’s largest cricket stadium.

Reconstructed at a cost of Rs 700 crore, is it also the second-largest sports stadium.

10:45am: Analysts comment on Trump’s visit

“The visit is a low-risk and characteristically showy distraction from domestic controversies” for the populist leaders, Ian Hall, professor at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, and author of the 2019 book ‘Modi and the Reinvention of Indian Foreign Policy,’ told Bloomberg.

“Modi will derive a bigger dividend from this trip than Trump, because of the distraction it offers from the domestic controversies, but also because the Indian public simply cares a great deal more about international opinion than its American counterpart,” Hall said.

“Politically I’m sure there’s at least a modest dividend to be achieved on that,” Richard M. Rossow, an India expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said referring to Trump’s visit boosting his appeal among Indian American voters.

Rossow also said Trump and Modi may announce an agreement on a few narrow trade issues. That could include a reduction of Indian tariffs on Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles, a U.S. company Trump has championed.

10:30am: PM Modi reaches Ahmedabad, will welcome Trump at the airport.

10:23am: Trump tweets in Hindi, says he is excited to be coming to India.

10:17am: Even before he has landed, Trump coming to India has been a topic of discussion. Read here to what prime time news had to say about it.

10:05am: After arriving in Ahmedabad, Trump and his delegation will head to Sabarmati Ashram by 12:15pm.

09:55am: Trump’s visit to India is expected to deepen the strategic ties, with both sides signing pacts from defence to energy and giving a renewed push to the Indo-Pacific initiative. Read ThePrint report here

09:48am: President Trump is expected to arrive at 11:40am at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport where there will be an official photo-op.

09:24am: Students of Sola Bhagwat school stand near Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, with the national flags of both India and US, to welcome Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and other dignitaries.

09:22am: Visitors have begun filling up the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, where the ‘Namaste Trump’ event will take place.

09:20am: PM Modi leaves for Ahmedabad.

09:00am: Prime Minister Modi tweets at US President Trump, says India awaits his arrival.

 

In New Delhi, the two leaders are expected to hold delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House, followed by a lunch hosted by PM Modi. In the evening, Trump is expected to meet President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

After landing in Ahmedabad, Trump will carry out a roadshow, though the route and length of it will depend on whether Trump visits Sabarmati Ashram.

Over the last few years, leaders from several countries, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have paid a visit to the ashram.

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