Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi got a raucous welcome when they entered the world’s largest cricket stadium on Monday as the president spent his first hours in India receiving the kind of pageantry and adoration he likes to see. 

The 110,000 stadium was filled to capacity and Trump acknowledged the spectacle when he addressed the Indian people. 

‘America loves India. America respects India. And America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people,’ the president said to cheers. 

‘You have done a great honor to the American people. Melania, my family, we will always remember this remarkable hospitality,’ he said. 

He later told reporters it was a ‘fantastic event.’

‘I thought it was fantastic,’ he said on his way to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. ‘They worked really hard.’ 

President Trump received the welcome he wanted when he touched down in India Monday morning – a spectacle of Indians lining the streets cheering on his motorcade, guards on camels standing by, and native dancers in bright costumes moving to live music and the beat of the drum.

Modi designed the day to appeal to an audience of one: Trump, wooing the president as the two nations struggle to end a trade war that has damped relations between them. 

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for a 'Namaste Trump' event at Sardar Patel Stadium

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for a ‘Namaste Trump’ event at Sardar Patel Stadium

President Donald Trump hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he and Melania arrived in India, which was a rare display of affection from the president and spoke of his affection for Modi

President Donald Trump hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he and Melania arrived in India, which was a rare display of affection from the president and spoke of his affection for Modi

President Trump and Melania Trump - who donned prayer shawls and removed their shoes - visited the home of Gandhi where Trump tried his hand at the loom

President Trump and Melania Trump – who donned prayer shawls and removed their shoes – visited the home of Gandhi where Trump tried his hand at the loom

The stadium, which was filled with capacity saw people sitting in the sun head out as the two leaders wrapped up their remarks

The stadium, which was filled with capacity saw people sitting in the sun head out as the two leaders wrapped up their remarks

Melania Trump and President Trump exit Sardar Patel Stadium - the world's largest cricket stadium - after Trump's remarks

Melania Trump and President Trump exit Sardar Patel Stadium – the world’s largest cricket stadium – after Trump’s remarks

The colorful and festive arrival ceremony in India featured dancers and live music as the Trumps and Modi walked the red carpet

The colorful and festive arrival ceremony in India featured dancers and live music as the Trumps and Modi walked the red carpet

Security forces and their camels greet President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they arrive at the Namaste Trump event

Security forces and their camels greet President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they arrive at the Namaste Trump event

Thousands lined the streets to welcome the Trumps but it was not the million people the president predicted would come out to greet him

Thousands lined the streets to welcome the Trumps but it was not the million people the president predicted would come out to greet him

Ivanka Trump and Jared Trump, the president's daughter and son-in-law who serve as White House advisers,  joined the president on the trip

Ivanka Trump and Jared Trump, the president’s daughter and son-in-law who serve as White House advisers,  joined the president on the trip

President Trump's motorcade moves through Ahmedabad as Indians lined the streets to cheer him on one said and the other side shows a wall officials built to cover the nation's infamous slums

President Trump’s motorcade moves through Ahmedabad as Indians lined the streets to cheer him on one said and the other side shows a wall officials built to cover the nation’s infamous slums

President Trump, for his part, hugged Modi upon his arrival in the country in a rare display of affection that spoke volumes for his fondness for the prime minister. 

Their three hours on the ground in Modi’s home state of Ahmedabad brought out thousands of cheering Indians, but not the millions Trump predicted would come out to greet him. Officials estimated about 100,000 people lined the 14-mile route the Trumps took through the city.

The Trumps were headed to the Taj Mahal after their time in Ahmedabad. 

In their first stop in India, President Trump and Melania joined Modi for a visit to the home of Mohandas Gandhi, where the president donned a prayer shawl and removed his shoes to learn about the life of the famed independence leader. 

Then it was on to the main event – the massive rally Modi had promised Trump, held at the biggest cricket stadium in the world. 

Trump, who loves a large crowd, added on to the 110,000 capacity size when he thanked the crowd for its warm welcome.

‘To the hundreds of thousands of everyday citizens who come out and line the streets in a stunning display of Indian culture and kindness, and to the 125,000 people in this great stadium today, thank you for the spectacular welcome,’ he said.  

Sardar Patel Stadium was packed to capacity, with thousands wearing white ‘Namaste Trump’ hats and waving masks of Trumps and Modi, cheering as the two leaders entered to the Village Men song ‘Macho Man.’

But the sections of the stadium facing the sun emptied out as the leaders wrapped up their remarks. The day was hot and baking.  

Seats in Sardar Patel Stadium started to empty as President Trump and Prime Minister Modi wrapped up their remarks as the day was hot and baking

Seats in Sardar Patel Stadium started to empty as President Trump and Prime Minister Modi wrapped up their remarks as the day was hot and baking 

Prime Minister Modi welcomed President Trump to the world's largest cricket stadium

Prime Minister Modi welcomed President Trump to the world’s largest cricket stadium

President Trump and Prime Minister Modi enter the stadium to a warm welcome and 110,000 cheering supporters

President Trump and Prime Minister Modi enter the stadium to a warm welcome and 110,000 cheering supporters

Prime Minister Modi and first lady Melania Trump - seated on stage -  listen as President Trump addresses the crowd

Prime Minister Modi and first lady Melania Trump – seated on stage –  listen as President Trump addresses the crowd

First lady Melania Trump, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi stand as the national anthems are played

First lady Melania Trump, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi stand as the national anthems are played

President Trump praised Prime Minister Modi and American-Indian relations in his remarks

President Trump praised Prime Minister Modi and American-Indian relations in his remarks

White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner sat in the front row of the rally at the cricket stadium

White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner sat in the front row of the rally at the cricket stadium

In his remarks at the stadium, Trump praised Modi’s leadership of the country.

‘India will soon be the home of the biggest middle class anywhere in the world, and within less than ten years, extreme poverty in your country is projected to completely disappear,’ Trump said. 

Trump India Schedule

Monday: Trumps arrive in Ahmedabad

They visit the Gandhi Ashram 

Event with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Motera Stadium, the world’s largest cricket stadium

Then the first couple will travel to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal

First couple then travels to Delhi, where they will stay the night 

Tuesday will include ceremonial events, bilateral meetings, and business event with Indian investors

Trump will have a meet-and-greet with embassy staff

He will have a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Modi 

He will meet with Ram Nath Kovind, the president of India 

First couple will attend a state dinner at the presidential palace, called Rashtrapati Bhavan

Trumps depart for the United States on Tuesday evening

He stumbled over Indian names, including over one of their spiritual gurus and famous cricket player Sachin Tendulkar.

The president also hit upon some of the talking points he uses in his campaign rallies, touting the strong U.S. economy, advocating for stronger border control, and bragging about the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

‘Every nation has the right to secure and patrol borders,’ Trump said.

He also discussed relations with Pakistan, India’s neighbor and rival, and said the U.S. was working with them to fight terrorism.

The president also mentioned the trade war that has aggravated relations between Delhi and Washington. 

Trade talks are at the top of the agenda even as American officials down played expectations a deal would be reached during Trump’s two-days on the ground. 

‘Modi and I will discuss the efforts to expand the economic ties,’ President Trump said. ‘We will be making very very major, the biggest ever trade deals.’

‘I am optimistic that working together the prime minister can reach a fantastic deal that would be good – even great – for both countries,’ he noted and then added: ‘Except he’s a very tough negotiator.’

Modi rallied the crowd by calling out ‘Namaste Trump.’ 

He praised the U.S.-Indian friendship, saying ‘new history is being created.’

‘Welcome all of you to the world’s biggest democracy,’ Modi said, telling Trump all of India welcomed him, adding that U.S. India relationships are ‘no longer just another partnership.’

The rally was designed to appeal to Trump’s love of big events, a crowd of thousands cheering him on as he and first lady Melania Trump came in.

Modi lavished on the praise to the president and his entire family, calling out the accomplishments of Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. He even mentioned the first lady’s ‘Be Best’ campaign by name and praised the work she has done with children. 

Trump has touted his friendship with Modi and he hugged the prime minister when he touched down in India, a rare display of affection.  

Indian officials rolled out the red carpet for the Trumps and have dubbed the visit as ‘two dynamic personalities, one momentous occasion.’

Modi was on hand to greet the first couple as they stepped off Air Force One as were an array of dancers in colorful native costumes, who gave a festive start to the visit.

They danced alongside the red carpet amid live music as the prime minister led the Trumps to their car. 

Melania Trump wore white pants with a long-sleeved white shirt and green sash around her waist for the arrival.  

Trump hugged Modi, a rare display of affection that showed his friendship for the prime minister

Trump hugged Modi, a rare display of affection that showed his friendship for the prime minister

It was a festive arrival ceremony with music and dancers in native costume greeting the party as they walked the red carpet

It was a festive arrival ceremony with music and dancers in native costume greeting the party as they walked the red carpet

Melania and Donald Trump descend the steps of Air Force One for their two-day visit

Melania and Donald Trump descend the steps of Air Force One for their two-day visit

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are also on the trip; they spoke with Prime Minister Modi at the airport

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are also on the trip; they spoke with Prime Minister Modi at the airport

President Trump gives his daughter Ivanka a kiss

President Trump gives his daughter Ivanka a kiss

A woman explains about a charkha, or spinning wheel, to President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump as India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks on

A woman explains about a charkha, or spinning wheel, to President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks on

Trump tried his hand at spinning during his visit to Gandhi's home

Trump tried his hand at spinning during his visit to Gandhi’s home

Indian people arrive at the cricket stadium where President Trump will deliver his speech

Indian people arrive at the cricket stadium where President Trump will deliver his speech

The area where President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak in the stadium

The area where President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak in the stadium

Attendees wore white hats reading 'Namaste Trump' and were handed cardboard masks featuring the president's face

Attendees wore white hats reading ‘Namaste Trump’ and were handed cardboard masks featuring the president’s face

The stadium holds 110,000 and will be the largest cricket stadium in the world

The stadium holds 110,000 and will be the largest cricket stadium in the world

Indian people arriving at stadium

Indian people arriving at stadium

Trump sent a tweet in Hindi saying he was on his way

Trump sent a tweet in Hindi saying he was on his way

A few protesters were on hand as Indian activists shout slogans against President Donald Trump during his India visit

A few protesters were on hand as Indian activists shout slogans against President Donald Trump during his India visit

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who serve as White House advisers, were also on the trip and watched the arrival festivities from the sidelines.  

And the president showed his enthusiasm for the state visit, sending a tweet from Air Force One in Hindi while he was in route that read: ‘We are ready to come to India, we are on our way, we will be meeting everyone in a few hours.’

Modi and the Trumps first stopped at the home of Mahatma Gandhi, where the president tried his hand at a loom – the same type used by the revered Indian leader. 

 The Trumps took a tour of the small complex made of a series of small houses. Modi explained to them how to use a charkha, a traditional spinning wheel used by Gandhi.  

While the Trumps made their way through the city, thousands filled Motera Stadium – which will be the world’s largest cricket stadium after Trump formally opens it Monday – to greet the president.

The massive rally was dubbed ‘Namaste Trump,’ which translates into ‘Greetings Trump.’ 

The president loves a big show and has bragged this could be the biggest event India has ever seen with millions in attendance. The stadium, which is still under construction, holds 110,000 although many more Indians are expected to line the 14-mile route Trump will traverse from the airport to the rally site. 

‘I hear it’s going to be a big event. Some people say the biggest event they’ve ever had in India. that’s what the prime minister told me – this’ll be the biggest event they’ve ever had. So it’s going to be very exciting,’ he told reporters at the White House Sunday as he prepared to leave for India.  

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend a welcoming ceremony with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend a welcoming ceremony with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport

A cow walks past a banner welcoming President Trump to India

A cow walks past a banner welcoming President Trump to India

Air Force One arrived in Modi's home state of Ahmedabad

Air Force One arrived in Modi’s home state of Ahmedabad

Native dancers were on hand to greet the president

Native dancers were on hand to greet the president

Supporters at the Sardar Patel Stadium waved Trump and Modi masks

Supporters at the Sardar Patel Stadium waved Trump and Modi masks

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House for a two-day trip to India

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House for a two-day trip to India 

Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel stand guard at the cricket stadium ahead of Trump's visit

Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel stand guard at the cricket stadium ahead of Trump’s visit

Billboards welcoming the Trumps have been hoisted around the towns of India they will be visiting

Billboards welcoming the Trumps have been hoisted around the towns of India they will be visiting

A monkey sits on a billboard featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump

A monkey sits on a billboard featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump

A road is fumigated in Ahmedabad ahead of Trump's visit

A road is fumigated in Ahmedabad ahead of Trump’s visit

And the place will be spick and span for the president.  

Workers cleaned the roads and erected billboards welcoming the first couple. And a four-foot wall has been built to hide the nation’s infamous slums, which house more than 2,000 people, from the Trumps’ view. 

Modi loyalists and police will line the road side in Ahmedabad – where the Trumps land Monday – to greet the first couple in the kind of pomp and circumstance the president adores – providing a grand lead-up to the world’s largest largest cricket stadium where Trump will hold the biggest rally of his presidential career.

Trump’s campaign rallies average between 10,000 and 20,000 depending on the venue size.

Trump said last week 7 million people in total would be out to welcome him, which would include the 14-mile route from the Ahmedabad airport to Motera Stadium.  

‘He told me we’ll have seven million people between the airport and the event,’ Trump said last Tuesday.

Two days later, he raised crowd estimates. 

‘I hear they’re going to have 10 million people,’ he said at a campaign rally. ‘They say anywhere from six to 10 million people are going to be showing up along the route to one of the largest stadiums in the world.’

It’s unclear how many will actually appear to cheer the president on his route but it is unlikely to be 10 million and may not hit six digits. 

Ahmedabad has a population of eight million. 

Modi’s government is dropping more than $14 million, according to the Associated Press, to woo President Trump as the two countries are embroiled in a trade war that shows no signs of abating.  

That includes four-foot brick wall that has been quickly erected close to the stadium with some saying it is  being built to block the view of a slum area inhabited by more than 2,000 people.   

It will shield the President as he arrives at the event. 

The stadium, which was built for $100 million, is a perfectly round venue that promises unobstructed views from every angle. It seats 110,000.  

When Modi visited the United States last year, he and President Trump attended a ‘Howdy Modi’ rally in Houston that drew a crowd of 50,000 Indian Americans. Trump compared Modi to Elvis Presley at that event. 

 



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