New Delhi: As US President Donald Trump completed the first day of his two-day India visit Monday, the global media’s focus was on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “populist” reception for the president who was “dazzled” at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.
While some sections of the US media pointed out that this was one of the rare occasions when Trump received so much public adulation in a foreign country, others juxtaposed his visit to the Gujarat capital with the ongoing violent clashes in Delhi.
Meanwhile, the Chinese media cautiously warned against a growing Modi-Trump bonhomie.
US media and reception for Trump
A CNN report highlighted how Donald Trump “was promised crowds — big ones — by his charismatic but increasingly nationalistic counterpart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who greeted Trump upon arrival with a hug”.
“And while a major trade agreement seems unlikely on this trip, Trump was more than happy to bask in the type of adulation that doesn’t typically follow him when he travels abroad,” it added.
USA Today reported how over 100,000 people “poured into” the Ahmedabad stadium for the ‘Namaste Trump’ event, which was “designed to reciprocate last fall’s Texas ‘Howdy Modi’ rally that drew 50,000 Indian Americans to greet the prime minister (Modi)”.
‘More symbolism than substance’
The Washington Post report on Donald Trump’s first day in India noted that there was more “symbolism than substance as he (Trump) celebrates ties with a fellow nationalist”.
Similarly, the New York Times report said Trump’s reception at the 110,000-seater cricket stadium “illustrated the populist bond between the two men and impressed a president who revels in spectacle”.
It also pointed to how Trump’s ignorance about India was at display, when the President mispronounced a whole set of “Hindi words”, and a large part of the crowd left before he could finish his 30-minute speech.
Referring to the ongoing anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, the Washington Post report said Trump praised “India’s unity and tolerance”, but refrained from offering any “public critique of recent actions by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that have been widely condemned as discriminatory”.
Moreover, according to the report, the references to India’s democratic tradition and diversity were “apparently meant to air U.S. concerns without publicly criticizing Trump’s host…”
Unlike the New York Times and Washington Post, the Financial Times focused on the underlying strategic considerations in Indo-US relationship.
“In his speech, Mr Trump called on India to help ensure ‘a free and open Indo-Pacific for our children and for generations to come,’” the Financial Times said.
Violence in Delhi overshadows visit
Two US publications, Bloomberg and Fox News, juxtaposed Donald Trump’s India visit with the violence that took place Monday in the national capital.
“India might have rolled out the red carpet for President Trump’s Monday visit, but the massive rally, hundreds of cheerleaders and weeks of preparation glossed over one of the largest civil disputes that’s gripped the country in years,” noted the report in Fox News.
Similarly, Bloomberg pointed to how “violence erupted in New Delhi just hours before U.S. President Donald Trump was due to arrive in the Indian capital, as rival groups protested the country’s contentious religion-based citizenship law”.
Chinese media not elated
With growing ties between India and the US seemingly affecting China, Global Times carried a report with the headline, “Concerns remain amid Trump’s India visit”.
On Sunday, Global Times ran an opinion piece, which argued: “Now that Trump is traveling to India, 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.”
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