Trump in India

Donald Trump was in India on 24 & 25/2/2020. The visit began in Ahmedabad, continued in Agra and ended in Delhi.
Since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, Ahmedabad has become a part of itinerary for visiting Heads of States and Governments. So it was with President of USA. The plane carrying him landed at Ahmedabad airport around 11.45 am on 24th February. He had red carpet welcome. Modi was there. As Trump walked on the red carpet there were traditional dances on both sides.
Trump was taken to Sabarmati Ashram and then to rebuilt Motera Stadium. Modi praised Trump. Trump praised Modi. Trump had attended Modi’s rally at Houston. Modi returned the favour by having a rally for Trump.
Donald Trump and Melania Trump went to Agra and had their photograph in front of Taj Mahal. Years back Trump had Trump Taj Mahal built in Atlantic City which was opened on 2/4/1990. He had called it eighth wonder of the world. It was a casino and a hotel. Trump Entertainment Resorts Trump Taj Mahal. It filed for bankruptcy on 10/9/2014. In February 2016 it exited bankruptcy and became a subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises. Donald Trump was no longer the owner. Trump Taj Mahal was shut down on 10/10/2016 and re-opened as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on 28/6/2018.
On 25th morning Trump was welcomed at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He had a meeting with Modi at Hyderabad House and met Indian businessmen at American Embassy.
Trump and Modi had a Press Conference. About religious freedom Trump said “We talked about religious liberty for a long period of time in front of a lot of people. I had a very very powerful answer I think.” About CAA he said “I don’t want to discuss that. I want to leave that to India. I hope they will do the right thing for the people of India.”
Trade was an important issue. Trump wants India to lower tariffs. He wants to bridge trade deficit with India. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said there will be Free Trade Agreement negotiations between USA and India. Lowering tariffs on American goods will be opposed by many Indian businessmen. Not lowering tariffs will result on higher tariffs on Indian exports to USA. That can result in a trade war. Most probably trade talks will drag on for years.
Trump announced a helicopter deal. India will buy 24 MH-60 Romeo Sea Hawk and 6 AH-64E Apache helicopters for 3 billion dollars.
Indo-US Joint Statement mentioned Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement, Blue Dot network, Afghanistan, Nuclear Suppliers Group, trade and terror groups.
Melania visited Sarvodaya Co-educational Senior Secondary School and attended happiness class for Class V A. Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia were in the original list to accompany her. Their names were deleted by American Embassy stating that it does not want the event to be political.
At night there was banquet for Trump at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Ram Nath Kovind was the host. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Modi, some cabinet ministers and some others attended. Four chief ministers – B. S. Yediyurappa, Sarbananda Sonowal, Manohar Lal Khattar and K. Chandrasekhara Rao were present. Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury skipped banquet because Sonia Gandhi was not invited.
Trump left Delhi and India around 10.45 p.m. on 25/2/2020.

India Developed Country

It is an honour for India to be a developed country.
United States Trade Representative on 10/2/2020 has removed India from a list of developing countries. It is on the basis of India having 0.5% or more of world trade and being a member of G20. This prevents India from claiming concessions in trade with USA.
This move comes two weeks before Donald Trump’s visit to India on 24-25/2/2020. USA had ended Generalised System of Preference to India with effect from 5/6/2019. India has no probability of restoring it. India had responded by imposing higher customs duties on 28 American items with effect from 16/6/2019.
USTR has taken many countries out of list of developing countries. Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, S. Africa, S. Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam are out of the list.
Trump puts America First. He does not want other countries to take advantage of USA. Under World Trade Organization Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures developed countries had some benefits in trade. Under Tariff Act 1930, USTR has responsibility to designate countries entitled to special thresholds. India and many other countries were designated as developing countries in 1998.
No country wanted to declare itself as developed. Trump decided USA will do it. Now India has to do better. Or India can engage in trade war with USA.
Trump took USA out of Trans-Pacific Partnership. He did not proceed with Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. He threatened trans-Atlantic trade war. He replaced North American Free Trade Agreement with United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. He started trade war with China.
India has an opportunity to accept developed country tag and work on it. There is no glory in claiming to be a developing country and asking for concessions.

AAP Retains Delhi

People of Delhi voted for Legislative Assembly election on 8/2/2020 and results were declared on 11/2/2020. Out of 70 seats, AAP won 62 and BJP won 8.
Compared to Lok Sabha elections 2019 it was a setback for BJP which had won all 7 Lok Sabha seats and Congress which had finished second in 5 Lok Sabha seats. Compared to Legislative Assembly elections 2015 it was 5 seat loss for AAP, 5 seat gain for BJP and no loss and no gain for Congress.
It was a relief for AAP which had failed to form government in any state after 2015. It got 20 seats in Punjab and no seat in Goa, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. For BJP it was a setback after losing Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Jharkhand.
It was consolidation of reputation for poll strategist Prashant Kishor. He was successful from 2014 onwards with different parties which heeded his advice. Congress did not heed his advice in UP election and lost. This time he was with AAP and AAP won.
Arvind Kejriwal changed over the years. He gave up confrontation with BJP in general and Narendra Modi in particular. He did not join protests against CAA, NRC and NPR. He did not join Shaheen Bagh protestors. He talked about the work his government had done over the years and demanded votes on that basis. Reduction in electricity bill, free water supply up to 20,000 litres per month, free bus rides for women, mohalla clinics, improvement in government schools and not allowing arbitrary hike in fees in private schools were issues on which he fought. He did not respond to personal attacks by BJP leaders. Prakash Javadekar called him a terrorist. He left it to people of Delhi to decide.
BJP tried to make nationalism an issue. One slogan was to shoot the traitors. They talked against Shaheen Bagh protestors. It is debatable whether that benefitted BJP. Some feel it cost BJP while others feel without it they would not have got even 8 seats.
Congress leaders like P. Chidambaram are jubilant that BJP lost in Delhi while some others are unhappy that Congress lost. Sheila Dikshit had died on 20/7/2019. Congress fought election on the basis of performance of her government for 15 years. She had nothing to do with this election. After election results P. C. Chacko blamed her for loss. That did not go down well with some Congress leaders. Latika Dikshit, daughter of Sheila Dikshit, asked how his conscience allowed him to say things like this for a person who has passed away. Pawan Khera who was an aide to Sheila Dikshit said in 2015 when Sheila Dikshit was not involved Congress vote share was 9.7%. In 2019 when she was in charge it was 22.46%. In 2015 it was Legislative Assembly election. In 2019 it was Lok Sabha election. Now Congress vote share is 4.26%.
Unlike 2015 when AAP government swearing-in was on 14 February this time it is on 16 February. It is another change in Arvind Kejriwal for whom 14 February was significant and had resigned on 14/2/2014.
LPG cylinder prices were revised on 1st of every month. This time the revision was on 12/2/2020, after Delhi election result. Price was up by Rs.144.50.