India ready to welcome President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump will be in India on February 24-25 on a state visit, his first such visit to the country. The visit assumes significance given the fact that Mr. Trump is making this trip in an election year. Besides wife Melania, he will be accompanied by his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. This would make the trip one of the few times that Mr. Trump has traveled officially with so many members of his family. He will touch down at Ahmedabad, Gujarat on Monday, where he is set to address a joint rally with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Delegation-level bilateral talks will take place in Delhi on Tuesday. After talks between Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi, a number of agreements and Memorandum of Understanding, including on counter-terrorism, Intellectual Property Rights, space, and medical cooperation, would be exchanged. A limited trade deal, that would give the U.S. greater access to India’s dairy, poultry markets, and lower tariffs on other products, however, remains elusive. Ahead of his visit, he said his country is “doing a very big trade deal with India” but “later on”.
Visit to Agra
From Dwight D Eisenhower to Bill Clinton, American presidents have made sure they’re photographed against the backdrop of the Taj. And, now the monument is ready to impress Trump for that family frame. Well, almost ready.
The messages flashing across Agra capture the spirit of readiness. ‘Welcome to the land of Ram and Krishna’, ‘Greetings from people of Uttar Pradesh’, ‘Welcome to the land of immense investment opportunities’ and many more. It’s another matter that Trump has been sending confusing signals on trade and business deals with India over the last few days. Leaving nothing to chance as a good host would do, the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh has done its bit to beautify the area around the world’s most iconic monument of the Mughal era.
The activity is at another level inside the Taj Mahal as officials of the Archaeological Survey of India are trying to keep pace with the changing plans of the US President. Although shops will remain close, tourists will be able to visit Taj till 2 pm, after which the premises will be emptied out. The official denied the reports that Taj would be shut the whole day.
The UP government released 500 cu secs of water from the Upper Ganga Canal in Uttarakhand to replenish the depleting water level in the Yamuna that runs next to the Taj. Dussehra Ghat, which overlooks the monument, is slowly seeing the water rise. Hathi Ghat, the other end near the Agra Fort, is bereft of even a single stream of Yamuna. “I don’t think there’s so much water that it will come till here. Rather, the construction work has stopped here and I will not be paid for a week,” said a daily wage labor who was working on a bridge being constructed near the Hathi Ghat. In anticipation of water gushing through the area, all work has been stalled.