U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump departed for India, Sunday, February 23.
This will be President Trump’s first visit to the South Asian country where a sale worth several billion dollars for military helicopters and, possibly, a missile defense system, is likely to be sealed amid rising mutual concern about China’s military expansion.
The president said Thursday that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told him he will be greeted by up to 10 million people when Air Force One lands in Modi’s home state of Gujarat Monday morning.
Indian officials, quoted by local media, predict a more modest crowd of about 100,000 to 150,000 (plus 12,000 police officers) when the president arrives for the dedication of the world’s largest cricket stadium — part of an event billed as “Namaste, Trump.”
It is uncertain whether Trump will discuss the issue of Kashmir with Modi.
Some members of the U.S. Congress are also expressing concern about Modi’s controversial move to give Indian citizenship to immigrants from three neighboring countries — unless they are Muslims.
Trump will be the fourth consecutive U.S. president to travel to India, continuing the shift in allegiance by Washington to Delhi from India’s archrival and neighbor, Pakistan.