US President concludes 36-hour, 3-city India visit
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US President concludes 36-hour, 3-city India visit

February 26, 2020

Focus of the tour was a strong personal rapport between Trump and PM Modi

New Delhi: US President Donald Trump concluded his 36-hour three-city (Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi) India visit after a busy second day yesterday during which he held talks with Indian business leaders, addressed a media briefing and attended a State banquet at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

Both POTUS (President Of The United States) and FLOTUS (First Lady Of The United States) boarded Air Force One in New Delhi last night after a hectic schedule. 

BBC described the visit as follows: “The optics of the trip was crucial both for him and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trump wanted to show people in the US that he was hugely popular abroad and that he was capable of negotiating good deals out of a country he once described as the “king of tariffs”. On the other hand, the Indian PM desperately needed some good headlines after being under the spotlight due to his controversial decision to revoke Kashmir’s autonomy and the ongoing protests against his new citizenship law. In the end, both leaders had their wishes fulfilled despite not agreeing on a much talked-about trade agreement.”

 Donald Trump hailed it as a “very productive visit” but said he would keep working with Modi for “a comprehensive trade deal”. The US is one of India’s biggest trade partners. The two leaders hope the visit will mend a rift over tariffs.

Trump’s visit to Delhi has been marred by the deadliest religious unrest in the capital for decades. Asked about the violence, he told reporters that the incident was “up to India” to handle. However, he said he had brought up the issue of religious freedom in the country and was impressed by PM Modi’s response.

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“He [Modi] was incredible, he told me – ‘In India we have worked very hard to have religious freedoms’,” Trump said. After talks yesterday, the US President and Modi acknowledged they had not been able to sign a trade deal, but announced that negotiations would continue.

“We also agreed to open negotiations on a big trade deal. At the global level, our relationship is depended on the similar democratic values we share,” PM Modi said. But deals in other areas were announced. India is to buy attack helicopters and other US military equipment worth three billion dollars, Trump said.

They also announced co-operation in fighting radical Islamist terrorism and deepening energy ties, as well as pledging to work together to make 5G technology safer. As part of the deals announced, US firm Exxon Mobil and Indian Oil have signed an agreement to help India import more Liquefied Natural Gas.

Bilateral trade between the two countries totalled 142.6 billion dollars in 2018. But in June 2019, the US ended preferential trade status for India. India imposed retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products, causing a diplomatic rift between the two countries. But Trump’s visit has helped improve relations and cement what appears to be a strong personal rapport between him and PM Modi. 

CM B.S. Yediyurappa meets Trump

Dressed in his regular white safari suit, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa shook hands with United States President Donald Trump in New Delhi yesterday. 

Yediyurappa joined many Union Ministers, BJP senior leaders and his counterparts from other States to take part in a banquet hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind in honour of Trump at Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

US delegation was served authentic Indian delicacies

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While US President Donald Trump’s love for McDonald’s is conspicuous, in India he was only served authentic Indian delicacies. What started with high tea at the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat, finished with a flourish at the elaborate dinner party at Rashtrapati Bhavan last evening.

Trump likes steak, hamburgers and meatloaf, but he’s going to be plied in New Delhi with goat meat — marinated overnight to steep in the flavours. The delegation was served with amuse-bouche (smoked orange peel panna cotta), which is a pre-appetizer course in French cuisine, followed by appetizers which included aloo tikki with spinach papdi, spiced salmon, and lemon grass and coriander soup.

Next, they were presented with the main course, which included the wildly expensive but superlative in taste morel mushrooms from the Himalayas, lamb biryani, a delectable preparation of the lamb leg called ‘Raan Aalishaan’, and of course, Rashtrapati Bhavan’s special in-house culinary innovation that is known for its rich texture ‘Dal Raisina’, named after the Raisina Hill. The menu also included mint raita.

Chef Machindra Kasture said that the dal has a velvety texture and is peppered with mild spices, along with a secret ingredient — kasuri methi leaves. For the soirée, special efforts were made by in-house chefs to curate a menu that tasted Indian, but had an American twist, so as to cater to the tastes of the foreign dignitaries. The dessert included hazelnut apple pie with salty caramel sauce — served with vanilla ice cream — and malpua with rabdi.

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