Govt tries to wash hands of ‘Namaste Trump’ show

3-hour mega event being held by an unknown entity

Govt tries to wash hands of ‘Namaste Trump’ show

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 20

The government has attempted to wash its hands of the `Namaste Trump’ rally, saying the organiser of India’s marquee foreign affairs event this year was one Donald Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti which has neither an address nor a website.

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“The ‘Namaste Trump’ event is being organised by the Donald Trump Nagrik Abhinandan Samiti. The Samiti is taking all decisions on whom to invite,’’ said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. Questions began to be raised on the government spending Rs 120 crore for the three-hour `Namaste Trump’ event in Ahmedabad to which no Opposition leader has been invited, unlike the “Howdy Modi” show which had Trump’s opponents from the Democratic camp on the stage.

Asked why was the government machinery deployed for an event being organised by a private entity, he sought to give the impression that this was being done in reciprocity. The US Government, he argued, had extended similar courtesies when “Howdy Modi” was staged at Houston in September last year. Following Kumar’s disclosure, the Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala sought to know the name of the president of Donald Trump Abhinandan Samiti. He also wanted to know when was the invitation extended to US President.

The Congress leader asked: “Why did Trump say that Modi had promised him seven million people when the event is a private one and why is the Gujarat Government spending Rs 120 crore on a three-hour event organised by an unknown private entity?” While India values its visiting dignitaries, Surjewala pointed out that diplomacy was serious business and should not be reduced to a series of photo-ops and event management tactics.

The government tried to dispel the impression that India would write a multi-billion dollar cheque for inviting Trump on a rare standalone visit. “The visit has to be seen in the context of reaching a certain stage of maturity in the relationship, regular meetings between the leaders of two democracies and the growing comfort level between our two countries,” explained government sources.

“Both leaders have personally invested in this relationship and the canvas has expanded to include several new areas,” they pointed out while giving an overview of where the overall relationship was headed: a growing intensity in ministerial visits, a second meeting of India-US 2+2 Ministerial and expansion in defence ties to agreements like LEMOA and COMCASA.

The US is India’s largest trading partner in goods and services and there is a growing cooperation in counter-terrorism. “We expect that the talks will deepen our engagement in all these areas,” the sources said.

MEA: organisers to decide whom to invite

  • Gujarat Government spending Rs120 crore on event, no Oppn leader invited
  • On govt role, MEA says US Govt extended similar courtesy during ‘Howdy Modi’
  • Cong says diplomacy serious business, shouldn’t be reduced to series of photo-ops


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