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POTUS’s maiden India visit – a look at why it’s important

It is also going to be the first standalone visit by a U.S. President to India.

President Trump’s visit will be a brief but intense, with all essential elements of a state visit, and two additional legs in Ahmedabad and Agra, all squeezed into less than 36 hours.

From the moment of their arrival at the airport a little before noon on 24 February, the delegates will be treated to a display of the famed Indian hospitality and India’s Unity in Diversity. 

The 5th meeting in 8 months – leaders of the world’s largest democracy hosting the leader of the world’s oldest democracy.

The host just rode back to power for the second term with a massive mandate while the guest heads for his first stand alone bilateral visit in a year when he seeks re-election for a second term.

It was President Donald Trump’s administration that saw India’s relationship with the U.S. has evolve to one of the most consequential relationships today. A strategic partnership based on shared values, geared towards the 21st century whether in countering terrorism or in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific, India and the U.S. have unprecedented convergence of interests.

Talking of specifics, India has procured over US$18 billion worth of defence items from the U.S., which has enhanced defence preparedness significantly as have frequent bilateral exercises with each other .  

The U.S. is India’s largest trading partner in goods and services combined, and the overall bilateral trade increased by over 10 % per annum over the past two years to reach US$ 142 billion in 2018; it is expected to cross US$ 150 billion for the first time this year. U.S is India’s 6th largest source of crude oil imports, with hydrocarbon imports rising to US$ 7 billion in the last two years.

The size of the Indian Diaspora in the U.S. is estimated at around 4 million, with a million of NRIs. There are more than 200,000 Indian students in the U.S.. and a robust engagement among academics, scientists, professionals and other stakeholders.

From Howdy Modi to Namaste Trump, the two leaders’ joint appearances only grow bigger and grander.

From the over 50,000 strong crowd in Houston to the nearly one lakh registrations at For Namaste Trump at the Motera Stadium, the people-to-people connect continues to flourish under the leadership of PM Modi and President Trump.

And for history aficionados, President Eisenhower in 1959, President Nixon in 1969, President Jimmy Carter in 1978 followed by President Bill Clinton in 2000, George W Bush in 2006 and President Obamain 2010 and 2015. The increase in high level engagements in the 21st century are a clear indicator of the upward trajectory in India-US ties.

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