NAMASTE TRUMP: President Trump and First Lady Melania have kicked off a two-day stay in India. Upon arrival at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, the Trumps’ first official visit to India was planned with numerous photo-ops. Today’s itinerary included a raucous rally at the world’s largest cricket stadium, a more solemn visit to the Gandhi Ashram and a visit to the Taj Mahal.
The diplomatic trip is meant to bolster U.S.-India relations, which have become increasingly challenged due to trade, digital and e-commerce issues, as well as retaliatory tariffs. Pundits and some economists see this week’s quick trip as a move toward a strategic allegiance with India as a means to offset China’s rise, while political observers have pointed to the get-out-the-vote element they say is geared for American-Indian voters in November’s presidential election.
After motorcading through streets lined with people, the Trumps arrived at the Motera Stadium to a reported crowd of upward of 110,000 for what was billed as the “Namaste Trump” event. Amidst the cricket-loving crowd in his own home state of Gujarat, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared their enthusiasm for Trump, with the two world leaders cheering each other on at times. In September, Trump hosted India’s Prime Minister in Houston for the “Howdy Modi” event, a gathering in Houston that attracted more than 50,00 Indian-Americans.
FLOTUS departed Joint Force Andrews Base wearing a dark turtleneck sweater and light trousers from designer Rachel Roy, whose father is from India. Roy is known to be friendly with the First Lady and supported her at a United Nations-related event in the past. By the time Air Force One touched down in India, FLOTUS had changed into a custom white jumpsuit from Atelier Caito for Hervé Pierre with an intricately patterned sash. Embroidered with gold-colored thread, the green belt was inspired by an ancient textiles document from India. Her style adviser, Pierre, started the namesake New York-based company with Nicolas Caito. Trump has intermittently worn the brand for select key appearances. She is said to own a similar jumpsuit from the New York-based house.
By stopping at the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Trumps will be among the more than 7 million annual visitors. Later in the day they will travel to Delhi. Tuesday will lead to another full calendar with a meeting with Modi, another with India’s President Ram Nath Kound and a state dinner before the return flight to the Beltway.