Home >News >World >Ahead of Trump visit, US Congressional delegation meets Indian foreign secretary

NEW DELHI : Days ahead of a visit by US President Donald Trump to India, a US Congressional delegation headed by Democrat Ami Bera met foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla in New Delhi.

“Foreign Secretary @HarshShringla met US Congressional Delegation led by @RepBera Chairman House Foreign Affairs sub-Committee on Asia-Pacific & @RepHolding Member House Ways & Means Committee & co-Chairs of India Caucus & discussed strengthening ties & regional developments," said a Twitter post by Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar.

Trump is to arrive in India on Monday on a two-day visit, accompanied by US First Lady Melania Trump. The first stop of the US president is to be Ahmedabad on 24 February when Trump is to visit the Sabarmati Ashram of India’s freedom icon Mahatma Gandhi.

According to a PTI report, Trump is to be gifted a spinning wheel, two books on the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi and a portrait of the Father of the Nation during his visit to the Sabarmati Ashram. The ashram, also known as Gandhi Ashram, was home to the independence movement leader and peace icon from 1917 to 1930. It is now managed by the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust. Trump will be accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the ashram located on the banks of the river Sabarmati.

Trump will be the first US president to visit the ashram, a place closely associated with India's freedom struggle. Ashram trustees Kartikeya Sarabhai and Amrut Modi said the American president, US First Lady Melania Trump and Prime Minister Modi would spend around 30 minutes at the ashram.

Trump and Melania may try their hands on the spinning wheel (charkha) kept near 'Hriday Kunj', a cottage inside the ashram where Gandhiji and his wife Kasturba once lived. Other dignatories who have visited the ashram include Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

"We will gift Trump a spinning wheel, Gandhiji's autobiography and a book named 'My Life My Message'. This book is based on an exhibition depicting Gandhiji's entire life. The ashram would also gift Gandhiji's portrait to Trump. Along with the charkha, we will give him a note describing its importance in the country's freedom struggle," said Amrut Modi.

He said the dignitaries will be welcomed with garlands made of 'khadi' (hand-woven fabric).

Trump and the Prime Minister will also take part in a roadshow that will start from the Ahmedabad airport and end at the cricket stadium in Motera after passing along the ashram.

Behind the ashram, a platform is being built so that Modi can show the entire expanse of the Sabarmati riverfront to the visiting dignitaries from one place, officials quoted by PTI said.

Large hoardings welcoming Trump and PM Modi have been put on the 22km route of the roadshow. Officials have estimated that over 1 lakh people would stand on both side of the road on the entire route to greet the leaders.

After the roadshow, the two leaders are scheduled to inaugurate the newly-built stadium at Motera and participate in an event christened as "Namaste Trump." With capacity for 110,000 spectators, the Motera Stadium will dislodge the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the world's largest cricket stadium, a Reuters news report said.

Trump is also expected to visit India’s world famous monument to love, the Taj Mahal, in the city of Agra before arriving in New Delhi on 25 February for official talks with Modi.

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