The Motor Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
The Motera stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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‘Namaste Trump’ is the major story in all mainstream papers’ front pages. Some focus on the preparations in Ahmedabad ahead of his visit, while the financial papers note the defence deals for Seahawk and Apache helicopters expected to be inked between India and US.

The Times of India leads with Trump’s comments before boarding “PM says it’ll be India’s biggest event ever”. Expectations are definitely high here and so are the preparations, the reports notes, “Ahmedabad’s new Motera Stadium is set to welcome US President Donald Trump with Prime Minister Narendra Modi …’’ with a lakh people expected in the arena for the `‘Namaste Trump’ event”. 

The other big story, “Violence erupts in north-east, south Delhi..’’ is the protest that turned violent in north-east Delhi’s Jafrabad Sunday after “anti- and pro-CAA protesters came face to face, leading to stone pelting and vandalising of vehicles and shops in the area”. 

And in “J&K to get a new part..”,  the report says a new party is about to be born in the new union territory. “Splinter groups from Congress, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) have come together to launch a regional outfit in the newly created Union Territory of J&K,” the paper reveals. 

Also check out, `India and China spare on corona curbs’ that reports on the impact of the virus on the economy: “In what seemed like a tit for tat, China on Sunday asked Indian authorities to not block export of China’s ‘much-needed items’ required to control the coronavirus epidemic.” 

The Indian Express feels the need to clarify in its headline that US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump really are ‘On their way’ — as if absolutely everyone did not know that. 

The report adds that the two countries are planning a ‘blue dot network’ ,“a multi-stakeholder initiative to bring together governments”, and the setting up of six nuclear reactors. 

Express also notes the preparations in Ahmedabad and states that “hundreds of billboards hailing ‘two dynamic personalities’, ‘great democracies’” were set up along the road on which Trump’s convoy will pass. Trump was definitely excited about his visit as Express reports that he had also “retweeted a meme on him based on a sequence from the blockbuster movie Bahubaali’. 

The report, `Visit will push move to set up six N-reactors’ says that there a likely “announcement on a ‘project proposal’ for the setting up of six nuclear power reactors in collaboration with Westinghouse Electric Company…”. 

Express also focuses Delhi’s Jaffrabad violence between “pro and anti-CAA protesters’ Sunday. The report highlights the threats and provocations made by the BJP leader Kapil Mishra against the anti-CAA protesters, something TOI played down. 

The anchor story “Ancient city in Sirsa…’’ talks of the challenges the Archaeological Survey of India’s dilemma regarding a “historical mound” in Haryana’s Sirsa, which could hold clues to the ancient city of Sirashka. “It has to convince the nearly 50,000 people living on the identified 82 acres to move,” the report notes. 

Hindustan Timeslead report on the ‘Grand Welcome’ reads: “US President Donald Trump will begin his tour of India with pomp and spectacle on Monday amid a grand welcome by the Indian government, with his two-day visit expected to scale up bilateral ties between the two countries.”

In the report, `Air Force could give quicker promotions in retention plan’,  HT notes, “The Indian Air Force (IAF) may review its promotion policy to allow group captains to become air commodores faster as part of an overarching plan to improve their career prospects.” 

The anchor report is about India’s first coronavirus patient–“Was worried about family: India’s first patient’: “She was confident about her recovery even though she was concerned about her family and others who had interacted with her after her return to India from the central Chinese city of Wuhan,” it writes. 

The Hindu stays away from all the hype regarding Trump. The lead report notes PM Modi’s statement ahead of the Trump visit where he said that the rally in Ahmedabad will be “historic”. It adds, “American officials have said Mr. Trump will raise the situation in Kashmir and the on-going protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act during talks.” 

The other lead story on former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who delivered the keynote address at a conclave organised by The Hindu (“Regional Integration pegged to SAARC revival’’), says that “successful regional integration — both economic and security — depends” on the SAARC — he raises concerns of its being “deadlocked’’ right now.

The most unusual story in Hindu —’Ijaz-ul-Haq’s `explosive allegation’’ — reports that former president Zia-ul-Haq’s son Muhammad Ijiaz-ul-Haq levelled charges against former army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg and former national security adviser General Mahmood Ali Durrani about their purported involvement in “his father’s plane crash in August 1988”. It also claimed the involvement of India’s and Israel’s “spy agencies..’’

And in some alarming news, the anchor story “New highway threatens tiger territory in Arunachal Pradesh” reveals that documents received in response to an RTI inquiry reveal that the BJP government in Assam plans to build a 692.7 km highway through the 862 sq km Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR) in East Kameng district.” 

The Telegraph ignores Trump on page `, barring `Phew! Mahatma will not miss Trump’. This says,  Trump’s Sabarmati Ashram visit, which was not on his official schedule. “A brief halt at the Sabarmati Ashram was pencilled into President Donald Trump’s Ahmedabad schedule three hours before he departed from Washington for his 36-hour India visit.” 

The newspaper leads with a detailed story on the road that Delhi’s  Shaheen Bagh protests are blocking–`How attention has been shifted to the road in Shaheen Bagh’. It asks questions such as “Why is GD Birla Marg important? How many barricades have been put up? Who put up the barricades? Is there substance in what the police is saying?” The report also adds how the “protesters and several members of civil society believe that the police have deliberately barricaded the raid to foment discontent.” 

The New Indian Express focuses on Trump’s visit to Sabarmati Ashram on his first day in India, his “Namaste Mahatma” moment as the paper calls it. “The US president will be gifted a spinning wheel, two books on Mahatma Gandhi and a portrait of the Father of the Nation during his visit to the Ashram”, the report notes while alluding to the “restricted and delegation level talks” only once. 

The other story in focus is the Chinese President Xi Jinping admitting to the “large impact” that the coronavirus outbreak will have on the country’s economy. An interesting graphic on page 1 gives the recent tallies in the coronavirus epidemic — 78,891 confirmed cases, 2,467 deaths and 11,569 critical cases. 

And here’s a smoking gun: `In legal age to buy cigarettes to be 21?’it says the Health Ministry gave an “in-principle approval to a number of recommendations by a special committee”, which would amend the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act

Mumbai Mirror says underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. “Gangster Ejaz Lakdawala has told the Mumbai Police that a 10-member team led by Chhota Rajan’s main hitman Vicky Malhotra waited for days outside a dargah in Karachi in 1998 to kill Dawood Ibrahim.” 

A small mention of Trump’s visit — “The man who built Motera stadium” pops up — it says shockingly the man who built Motera stadium in ’83 has been kept out of the Trump event. The paper notes, “Mrugesh Jaikrishna, who got the original avatar of the stadium constructed in just 8 months and 13 days in 1983 has not been invited to Monday’s big show.” 

The Tribune also highlights how Ahmedabad was “spruced up” before Donald Trump’s visit — “from hard-to-miss billboards that stand cheek by jowl on all major arteries to the deployment of JCBs and tractors for clearing garbage and dredgers for the Sabarmati”. The report notes the controversy over the spelling of Ahmedabad on the billboards, which is spelt ‘Amdavad’, as it might be a “precursor to the renaming ” of the city to ‘Karnavati’. 

In the report about the Supreme Court hearing on the Shaheen Bagh protests, former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, one of the court’s appointed interlocutors, informed the court that the inconvenience caused was because of the unnecessary police barricades “on roads far away from the site”. 

The Economic Times, ‘In time for Namaste Trump’ reports on the “much sought-after trade deal remains elusive” and that the US president “did not hide his disappointment” over it. 

Another report on `Haldiram’s in talks with General Atlantic..’ “homegrown snack maker Haldiram’s has held discussions with global private equity major General Atlantic for a minority stake sale, valuing the eight-decade-old company at $5-6 billion”. This is significant as it comes “on the back of last year’s failed talks between Haldiram’s and US breakfast cereal Kelloggs”. 

Mint’s lead  “India all geared to welcome Prez Trump’’ carries an interesting graphic depicting the various US presidents as well as the year-on-year change in exchange of exports and imports between India and US. From 2014 to 2019 both exports and imports increased by at least 10 per cent, according to the report. Trump’s visit is also significant as, the paper highlights, “on the agenda” is a $2.6 billion deal for 24 Seahawk helicopters and $800 million deal for six Apache helicopters. 

Read the piece about how corporate India’s ability to service interest improved slightly in the December quarter, “possibly indicating the success of recent central bank measures to improve monetary policy transmission”.  

Also, India “is looking to position itself as an alternative manufacturing destination for global companies after the coronavirus outbreak exposed how heavily they are reliant on China for raw materials and production”.

Business Standard leads with the report about the possible amendment to the Companies Act, which will allow “unlisted Indian companies to list abroad”. The Companies Amendment Bill is said to benefit companies that “prefer foreign listing since investors are more credible on these platforms”. 

Also, read the important piece on how the recent voluntary retirement scheme is affecting BSNL and MTNL. The report highlights that unsatisfactory internet speeds, landline connections going dead and deserted offices have become a common occurrence since the implementation of the VRS.

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