Trump in India; Trade deal off, but chopper pact on the table
New Delhi, Feb 20: The Cabinet Committee on Security has cleared a 2.4 billion USD deal to purchase 24 American multi-role MH-60 Romeo Seahawk anti submarine helicopters for the Indian Navy.
The Lockheed Martin built helicopters are being purchased under the Foreign Military Sales route. The US FMS programme is for its allies to acquire defence articles, services and training through government to government agreements.
The MH-60 will replenish India's ageing fleet of British made Sea King choppers. India has started buying weapons from the US to improve ties and prevent a trade war.
This is an important development ahead of US President, Donald Trump's visit to India on February 24. Meanwhile Trump said that he saving the big deal for later and does not know if it will be done before the presidential election in November. This is a clear indicator that there would not be a trade deal when Trump visits India on February 24.
It was expected that the two countries would sign a trade deal during US President Donald Trump's visit to India this month.
Washington has informed New Delhi that it would look to complete the negotiations after the US elections. This would mean that negotiations would resume in 2021.
It may be recalled that a top trade official of the United States had said that he would not be visiting India along with Trump.
Sources confirmed to OneIndia that Robert Lighthizer, the top US trade administrator and negotiator has conveyed his inability to travel to India. This was conveyed to Union Minister Piyush Goyal.
Meanwhile more than 50,000 people are expected to line up along the 22km route of the roadshow of US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on February 24, Ahmedabad Mayor Bijal Patel said.
She said this may possible be the longest roadshow in the city for a visiting dignitary.
As per the route plan given to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) by authorities, Trump and Modi will first reach the Sabarmati Ashram, a place closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi, from the international airport.
From the Sabarmati Ashram, both the leaders would take the SP Ring Road via the Indira Bridge near the airport to reach the newly built cricket stadium in Motera, said Patel.
"It will be a 22-km-long roadshow, perhaps the longest roadshow ever held in the city. As per our estimate, over 50,000 people, including BJP workers, would greet the leaders on the entire route. Volunteers from 300 organisations and NGOs would also take part in the roadshow," she added.
Patel and AMC officials held a meeting on Friday with representatives of social, cultural and religious organisations expected to take part in the roadshow.
People from different states would wear traditional attire during the mega event, the BJP leader informed.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Trump, during his two-day India visit, would take part in a grand roadshow in Ahmedabad and also tour the Sabarmati Ashram and inaugurate a newly-built cricket stadium with Modi on February 24.
Trump and Modi would also address a gathering at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Motera.
The seating capacity of the sprawling stadium is 1.10 lakh and over a lakh people are likely to be present at the gathering.