Kicking off his 48-hour tour of India, President Donald Trump was greeted by over 100,000 people at the world’s largest cricket stadium in India, according to ABC News.
The crowd hailed the American president with cheers of “Namaste Trump” or “Welcome Trump.” Several people held cutouts of Trump’s face in the crowd, as well.
“The first lady and I have just traveled 8,000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this stadium: America loves India; America respects India; and, America will always be a faithful and loyal friend to the Indian people,” he said.
Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have several items on their agenda during Trump’s visit. One of the biggest is a potential trade deal.
“We are in the early stages of discussion for an incredible trade agreement to reduce barriers of investment between the United States and India,” said Trump from the stage. “And I am optimistic that working together with the Prime Minister and I can reach a fantastic deal that’s good, and even great for both of our countries. Except he’s a very tough negotiator.”
With India’s economy on the rise and previous trade halts, Trump is now eager to partner with the growing country.
“India will soon be the home of the biggest middle class anywhere in the world,” Trump said. “And within less than 10 years, extreme poverty in your country is projected to completely disappear. This potential for India is absolutely incredible.”
Modi has tweeted several times during the president’s visit as the pair discussed drug trafficking, terrorism, and cooperation in many sectors.
“Relations between India and USA are not merely ties between two governments,” Modi said. “Ours is a friendship that is people-driven and people-centric. Our nations are cooperating extensively, which is a great sign.”
Trump also praised the country for its religious tolerance.
“India’s a country that proudly embraces freedom, liberty, individual rights, the rule of law and the dignity of every human being,” he said.
Yet another excellent meeting and talks with my friend @realDonaldTrump.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 25, 2020
Relations between India and USA are not merely ties between two governments. Ours is a friendship that is people-driven and people centric.
Our nations are cooperating extensively, which is a great sign. pic.twitter.com/VPA8jdhAtI
But critics were quick to point out that India has not had a clean record for respecting all religions, highlighted earlier this year by a massive protest lead by India’s Muslims. According to the New York Times, the religious minority is concerned over a new law that bases quick citizenship on a person’s religion. Those who adhere to all of South Asia’s major religions, except Islam, will receive citizenship much more quickly.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Win McNamee/Staff, Photo from 2017 meeting at the White House
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine.