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Tue 11 Feb 2020 10:23 AM

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President Trump to visit India in late February

Some Indian political analysts attribute believe that the visit is an attempt by President Donald Trump to woo the large Indian diaspora in the US during the upcoming election

President Trump to visit India in late February

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump. Image: AFP

US President Donald Trump will visit India on February 24-25, the White House has announced.

"President @realDonaldTrump & @FLOTUS will travel to India from February 24-25 to visit Prime Minister @narendramodi! The trip will further strengthen the US-India strategic partnership & highlight the strong & enduring bonds between the American & Indian people," the White House said in a tweet on Monday.

President Trump will be accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump on the India trip, during which he will be visiting New Delhi and Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.

The announcement on the US President’s India visit followed a telephone conversation between him and Prime Minister Modi over the weekend.

"During a phone call over the weekend, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi agreed the trip would further strengthen the India-US strategic partnership and highlight the strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people," agency reports said, quoting White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.

India has been trying to get the US President to visit the country for some time now, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi first extending an invitation to Trump to visit India during his June 2017 trip to the White House,

New Delhi later attempted to get Trump to visit India as the chief guest of the Republic Day event last year. He did not attend.

India renewed its invitation to President Trump during the visit of India’s foreign and defence ministers for a 2+2 ministerial meeting with their American counterparts Mark Esper and Mike Pompeo in Washington last December.  

Trump's predecessor Barack Obama visited India twice, in 2010 and 2015.

Though India and the US have been deepening their bilateral and strategic relations on a range of global issues in the recent years, political analysts in India attribute considerable significance to the timing of President Trump’s visit as an attempt to woo the large Indian diaspora population in the US during the upcoming presidential election.

“While Trump will highlight the aspects of engagement with India that serve his political interests, the real significance for India will be at a more mundane level," Dhruva Jaishankar, director of the US Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation, has said. 

“Trump’s theatrics are not a sideshow, for they have real implications,” Jaishankar wrote in an opinion piece.

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