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Monday, February 24, 2020

India Gives Trump 'SPECTACULAR' Welcome as President Speaks to Packed Stadium

President Donald Trump applauds and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves after a "Namaste Trump," event at Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Ahmedabad, India. India poured on the pageantry with a joyful, colorful welcome for President Donald Trump on Monday that kicked off a whirlwind 36-hour visit meant to reaffirm U.S.-India ties while providing enviable overseas imagery for a president in a re-election year.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump applauds and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves after a "Namaste Trump," event at Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Ahmedabad, India. India poured on the pageantry with a joyful, colorful welcome for President Donald Trump on Monday that kicked off a whirlwind 36-hour visit meant to reaffirm U.S.-India ties while providing enviable overseas imagery for a president in a re-election year.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)



 Dave Boyer

President Trump told a packed cricket stadium of nearly 120,000 in India on Monday that the U.S. wants to expand its “cherished partnership” with the world’s largest democracy.
On his first trip to the nation of 1.3 billion people, the president thanked Indians and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their “spectacular welcome” bestowed on him and first lady Melania Trump.
“The first lady and I have just traveled 8,000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this nation: America loves India, America respects India, and America will always be faithful and loyal to the Indian people,” Mr. Trump said in a 30-minute address punctuated frequently with roars of approval from the crowd, many of whom were wearing white hats emblazoned with the phrase “Namaste Trump.”
The president received some of the loudest cheers when he spoke about U.S. efforts to fight terrorism from Pakistan, India’s historic adversary on its western border.
“The United States and India are firmly united in our ironclad resolve to defend our citizens from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism,” Mr. Trump said. “The United States and India are committed to working together to stop terrorists and to fight their ideology. For this reason, since taking office, my administration is working in a very positive way with Pakistan to crack down on the terrorist organizations and militants that operate on the Pakistani border.”
He said they are “beginning to see signs of big progress with Pakistan.”
“And we are hopeful for reduced tensions, greater stability of the future of harmony for all of the nations of South Asia,” Mr. Trump said. “India has an important leadership role to play in shaping a better future as you take on greater responsibility for solving problems and promoting peace throughout this incredible region.”
The president didn’t directly address the disputed Kashmir region along the border of the two countries.
“Every nation has the right to secure and control borders,” Mr. Trump said.
The president, who said he will conclude a $3 billion sale on Tuesday for India to purchase military helicopters from the U.S., also said Washington should become the “premier” defense partner for India.
“Together we will defend our security and sovereignty, and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region for our children and for many generations to come,” Mr. Trump said.
Cognizant of complaints from India’s 200 million Muslins about new immigration restrictions, Mr. Trump also praised India’s tradition of religious tolerance.
“Your nation has always been admired around the Earth as the place where millions upon millions of Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Jains, Buddhists and Christians and Jews, worship side by side in harmony,” the president said.
He said India has made great strides in prosperity, and the country “will soon be the home of the biggest middle class anywhere in the world.”
“You have done it as a peaceful country, you have done it as a tolerant country, you have done it as a great, free country,” Mr. Trump said.
India greeted the president with colorful pageantry as he arrived for two days of economic talks, tours of cultural sites and the address to a mega-rally at the cricket stadium.
Hundreds of thousands of flag-waving spectators lined the president’s motorcade route in Ahmedabad, in the western part of the country. The streets were dotted with numerous billboards featuring images of the president and Mr. Modi, celebrating their friendship with slogans such as “Two dynamic personalities, one momentous occasion.”
There were also dozens of billboards of the president and the first lady; dancers dressed in yellow, orange, red and blue costumes; horn blowers and drummers.
Mr. Trump received a warm embrace from Mr. Modi upon his arrival at the airport in Ahmedabad, where the host rolled out the red carpet. Hundreds of folk dancers and musicians in brightly colored costumes greeted the president and the first lady with performances at the airport.
The Trumps visited Sabarmati Ashram, which was once the residence of Mahatma Gandhi and now hosts a museum. Mr. Trump donned a prayer shawl and took off his shoes to walk through the ashram, where he viewed the loom used by the famed pacifist.

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