Trumps bid adieu with a promise to return

At the banquet organised in his honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Trump also revealed that he thought of coming to India after the November US presidential election but “Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) did not like the idea.”
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind during the playing of the national anthem at a state banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi.(REUTERS)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind during the playing of the national anthem at a state banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi.(REUTERS)
Updated on Feb 26, 2020 05:17 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

President Donald Trump wrapped up his whirlwind two-day trip on Tuesday night, but not before assuring India’s movers and shakers, gathered in a state banquet, that he would come back “many times” to the country.

At the banquet organised in his honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Trump also revealed that he thought of coming to India after the November US presidential election but “Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) did not like the idea.” “We had such a tremendous two days, not including the 18 hours we flew but that was not bad as I was coming to a place that I like very much. I have been to India before and I will be back many times,” he said.

With a visibly pleased Modi sitting to his left, Trump added in a lighter vein, “I called up the Prime Minister and said, `Do you mind if I come after the elections?’ But he was not happy. He did not like the idea. He had already put up the signs (billboards), he didn’t want to take them down.”

Trump and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, arrived at the lavishly decorated Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt around 7.50 PM. President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife, Savita Kovind, greeted them outside the Durbar Hall where the Ashoka-era Rampurva Bull statue stands as a symbol of peace and prosperity.

Kovind could be seen explaining the significance of the statue to the Trumps before they moved inside the Durbar Hall to pose for a group photo in front of the 5th century A.D. statue of Lord Buddha. The two leaders with their wives and other senior officials then went to North Drawing Room for brief formal talks.

Trump and Kovind, with vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu, came to personally greet all the guests at the Ashoka Hall. President Trump spoke to each guest personally before dinner.

According to officials, Trump and his family members relished all the dishes. The US president also listened with rapt attention to the music played by the naval band and applauded them. And after dinner, Trump stopped by to listen and appreciate a piano recital by Indian musician Sahil Solanki . In his speech, President Kovind said the two democracies are “deeply connected with each other through our people and their aspirations. The bedrock of Indian and American society has been hardworking middle-class families and that’s what makes us understand each other instinctively.” He noted that over four million people of Indian origin had made America their home and the bilateral canvas has turned more impressive because of the growing Indian student community in the US.

Pomegranate, apple and pineapple juices were on the menu and US president was also served his favourite Diet Coke. Commenting on the apple juice in his glass, Kovind quipped: “A century ago, American enterprise led to proliferation of apple orchards in our countryside, bringing prosperity to millions. Today, as we sit down to savour the fruits of that venture, Indian-produced Red Delicious American apples, we will once again be reminded of the depth of our engagement, and as much the prospects of future endeavours.”

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Monday, January 24, 2022