Asia Minute: White House Prepares for India Trip

Feb 17, 2020

A week from today, President Trump is scheduled to be in Inida. The two-day visit is expected to include discussions on a variety of topics — from trade to China.

 


President Trump's first stop in India will be in the province of Gujarat, where Narendra modi was chief minister for 13 years before becoming Prime Minister in 2014.

Last week, Trump said Modi told him he "thinks we'll have 5 to 7 million people just from the airport to the stadium."

The Times of India turned this into a headline saying "Trump says Modi has promised millions will welcome him in India." Friday, the local mayor put the likely number at "more than 50,000" with maybe 100,000 more at the stadium where Trump will speak.

Expectations are fluid about this trip, and not just about crowd size.

Trade will be on the agenda, but likely not a sweeping agreement. Reuters reports the President will meet executives of a number of Indian companies with a substantial presence in the United State.

It would not be a surprise to hear of further Indian investments in the U.S. There's also a pending deal for India to buy more than $2.5 billion of Lockheed Martin military helicopters.

The diplomacy is complicated: India is an important ally in regional rivalries with China, but the country's actions in Kashmir have drawn criticism from the United Nations and the U.S. Congress.

Another possibility: more talk about trade — holding out the possibility of a bigger deal at some point before the U.S. elections.