Just days before his scheduled visit to India, US President Donald Trump praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he is looking forward to his visit. Speaking to the reporters, Trump said, "I happen to like PM Modi a lot. He told me we will have 7 million people between the airport and the event. It's going to be the largest stadium in the world. It's going to be very exciting."
The US President also said he is "saving the big deal" with India for later and he "does not know" if it will be done before the presidential election in November. "We can have a trade deal with India, but I am really saving the big deal for later, maybe before elections. But we will have a very big deal with India."
President Trump is set to arrive in India on February 24 and expectations are high from his two-day state visit on further advancing India-US bilateral relations. One of the major issues which will be on cards during Trump's meeting with PM Modi is the trade deal between both the nations.
The US and India could sign a "trade package" during the visit, according to media reports.
According to reports, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the point-person for trade negotiations with India, is likely to not accompany Trump to India. However, officials have not ruled it out altogether.
Meanwhile, the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF) in a report said the latest quarterly data depict continuation of overall positive bilateral trade trends. The third quarter data reflects some downslide in growth rates.
"It may be due to several reasons, including the unexpected economic slowdown in India's economic growth, impact of US-China trade war, GSP withdrawal from the US side and retaliatory tariffs on specific US goods from the Indian side," USISPF said.
Trump will inaugurate the world's largest cricket stadium when he arrives in Ahmedabad, the home base of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Monday at the start of a two-day visit aimed at smoothing ties strained by trade disputes.
Making his first official trip to the world's largest democracy, Trump is also expected to visit the humble abode of Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad.
The leaders of China, Japan and Israel have all visited Ahmedabad since Modi became prime minister.