Namaste Trump: Across the stands of the world’s biggest cricket stadium, a sea made up of the faces of Donald Trump and Narendra Modi stared out. The 125,000-strong crowd who had gathered to welcome to US president on his first visit to India alongside the Indian prime minister, at a rally dubbed “Namaste Trump”, not only danced and chanted to show their appreciation, but many also donned masks of the two leaders.
“America loves India, respects India,” said Trump as he stepped out to address the rally, to roars of approval. “India gives hope to all of humanity.”
The event, organised in Ahmedabad in Modi’s home state of Gujarat on Monday afternoon, was the pinnacle of Trump’s visit to India and a platform for the two leaders to show off their enthusiastically friendly relationship. Before taking to the stage, Trump rally favourites Madman Across the Water by Elton John and Macho Man by the Village People boomed out across the giant stadium.
Namaste Trump The effusive bond between the two leaders was on full display, and Trump delivered a gushing speech paying tribute to an “exceptional leader … and a man I am proud to call my true friend”, while Modi sat behind him looking pleased. “Everybody loves him but I will tell you this, he is very tough,” added Trump, who unusually did not appear to divert from his speech script at all.
Modi was equally exuberant in his compliments for Trump and led the crowds in a chant of “namaste Trump” which loosely translates as “welcome Trump”. “India-US relations are no longer just another partnership, it’s a far greater and closer relationship,” said the Indian prime minister.
Nonetheless, little significant in terms of agreements between the US and India is expected to come out of Trump’s 36 hours in India, with trade deal negotiations at a current standstill, and the president’s speech, which jumped between references to Bollywood, famous cricket players, Diwali, Mahatma Gandhi, and Modi’s “moving” rags to riches life story, served only to further the sense this was simply an opportunity for both leaders to pat each other on the back.