Ahead of the highly awaited visit of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, former Foreign Secretary Shashank on Tuesday said that Donald Trump's upcoming visit to India next week is a full show of confidence in Indian leadership and friendship with India by the United States. US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will be visiting India on February 24-25.
The former foreign secretary further said that the visit is equally important because the world leader is visiting India and not any other country amid all the domestic issues going on in his own country.
"His (Trump) visit is important because this is Trump's first-ever visit to India. America has seen a lot of development in its domestic affairs in the previous months. Presidential elections are coming forth in the US. Secondly, this is the President's first visit to any foreign country post his acquittal in the impeachment trial. He is visiting India and not any other country. The visit is a full show of confidence in Indian leadership and friendship with India," the former diplomat told ANI in an exclusive interview.
US President and PM Modi had agreed during a recent phone conversation that the trip will 'further strengthen the United States-India strategic partnership and highlight the strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people.' Acknowledging the same, Shashank stated that Trump's visit will further deepen defence ties between the two countries.
"America is willing to share its latest technology with India and also deepen the strategic relationship in the Indo-Pacific especially in view of India's Look East Policy," he stressed.
"I'm not much confident about the trade deal. But this factor, I hope should not affect the bilateral friendship between India and the US," he added.
India has been witnessing rampant protests for a couple of months over the amended citizenship act. Regarding the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), Shashank stated that India has already spoken on such issues and said that the US President has no problem with it.
"The US is aware that issues including the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A are just another political gimmick by Pakistan to rant false propaganda against India on the international platform. Even Trump is aware of the fact that Jammu and Kashmir have been an internal matter of India and we have always been against third party mediation by any country," Shashank said.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), President Trump is expected to attend an event at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad similar to the 'Howdy Modi!' function that was addressed by Trump and Modi in Houston in September last year. The US President is also scheduled to visit the Taj Mahal along with Melania Trump. He will hold talks with the Indian leadership on a host of issues ranging from trade to defence deals to regional security.
(With Inputs from ANI)