WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says that India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expecting to turn out massive crowds for the president when he visits next week.
Trump will be in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat to attend an event called â€œNamaste Trump,â€ which translates to â€œGreetings, Trump,â€ at a cricket stadium.
Trump pivoted on a question about trade with India to say how much he likes Modi, adding that the prime minister expects some 7 million people to turn out for him between the airport and the cricket stadium.
â€œThe stadium I understand is sort of semi under construction, but itâ€™s going to be the largest stadium in the world, so itâ€™s going to be very exciting,â€ Trump told reporters.
In preparation for Trumpâ€™s visit, a half-kilometer (1,640-foot) brick wall has been hastily erected, with critics saying it was built to block the view of a slum area inhabited by more than 2,000 people.
Senior government official Bijal Patel said the wall was built â€œfor security reasonsâ€ and not to conceal the slum.
As for trade, Trump played down expectations for any major breakthroughs next week, saying, â€œIâ€™m really saving the big deal for later on. I donâ€™t know if it will be done before the election, but weâ€™ll have a very big deal with India.â€
Trade tensions between the two countries have escalated since the Trump administration levied tariffs on steel and aluminum from India.
India responded with higher tariffs on agricultural goods and restrictions on U.S. medical devices, prompting the U.S. to retaliate by removing India from a decades-old preferential trade program.
The U.S. runs a trade deficit with India of about $25 billion, according to the U.S. Trade Representative. India has relatively high tariff rates, especially in agriculture, and the Trump administration has been critical of that deficit, accusing India of unfair trading practices.