Trump kick-starts India visit on Monday to further solidify Indo-US ties
New Delhi, Feb 23: US President Donald Trump, accompanied by his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and top brass of his administration, will kick-start an eagerly awaited tour of India on Monday, a visit expected to significantly ramp up bilateral defence and strategic ties but unlikely to produce tangible outcome in resolving thorny issues like trade tariffs.
The nearly 36-hour-long visit by Trump is also set to send across a clear message of growing congruence of interests on major geopolitical developments in the region and beyond, particularly when China has been expanding its military and economic clout.
In their talks on Tuesday, Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are likely to focus on a wide variety of bilateral and regional issues including trade and investment, defence and security, counter-terrorism, energy security, religious freedom, proposed peace deal with Taliban in Afghanistan and situation in the Indo-Pacific, according to Indian and US officials.
The US president’s visit to India comes at a time when the country has been witnessing wide-spread protests against a new citizenship law, and strain in New Delhi’s ties with Islamabad over the Kashmir issue.
“President Trump will talk about our shared tradition of democracy and religious freedom both in his public remarks and then certainly in private. He will raise these issues, particularly the religious freedom issue, which is extremely important to this administration,” a senior official at the White House said.
Notwithstanding wrinkles in ties, the two sides are likely to showcase Trump’s maiden visit to India as a reflection of growing global strategic partnership between the two democracies.