What is India serving the beef-lover US President, wonder American media

Even as Americans were Googling for ‘What is India’ and ‘Where is India’, American media focused on the food served to the US President. A voracious beef eater, he is said to be averse to vegetables

 What is India serving the beef-lover US President, wonder American media

NH Web Desk

With the Rashtrapati Bhavan and Hyderabad House unlikely to serve non-vegetarian fare to the visiting US President, a CNN report wondered how President Trump was coping with vegetables.

The report stated, “ When President Donald Trump travels abroad -- be it to Saudi Arabia or Singapore -- his hosts usually try and make him feel at home with his favourite meal: steak with miniature bottles of ketchup on the side. But what's a beef-lover to do in India?”

“The President, whose diet is often a rotation of steaks, burgers and meatloaf, faces a potential shock ( in India)…A person close to the President who has dined with him on several occasions said Trump has salad with a meal every now and then -- but other than that, "I have never seen him eat a vegetable."

“When Trump travels abroad, aides pay particular attention to the food he'll be served and any awkward scenarios he might encounter. A premium has been placed on avoiding snags that would bring the President outside his comfort zone -- including, according to one official involved, a mandate that familiar food be available during Trump's meals.”

"No whole fish with the heads still on, nothing too spicy," is how one person involved in a trip early in Trump's presidency characterized the instructions for Trump.”

While international media reports took note of the violence in New Delhi, The New York Times, reporting from Ahmedabad noted:

…Although Mr. Trump said with satisfaction that 125,000 people had turned out to see him, more than one third of the crowd appeared to leave before the end of his nearly 30-minute remarks, and another third was gone by the time Mr. Modi spoke after him.

…Mr. Trump and Mr. Modi have developed a personal bond, or at least a political partnership, one Mr. Modi has skilfully created with the glue of flattery.”

“Before departing from Washington on Sunday, Mr. Trump told reporters that his appearance would be “the biggest event they’ve ever had in India. That’s what the prime minister told me.” (The rally was likely not even the biggest Indian turnout for an American president: Dwight D. Eisenhower drew a crowd of one million during a 1959 visit to New Delhi, according to an Associated Press report at the time.)”

In an opinion piece Global Times (China) reflected on the US President’s visit and said:

“ Selling weapons to India is an important goal of the Trump administration. Foreign sales of weapons are vital to the Trump administration in its effort to boost the US economy and employment. Trump brokered a $110 billion arms deal during his trip to Saudi Arabia in 2017.

Over the past few years, India has been an important weapons market and has the potential to import more arms in the future. To gain more access to India's weapons market, the Trump administration used the threat of sanctions against India over its arms deals with Russia.

According to Indian media reports, New Delhi finalized a $3.5 billion defense deal with Washington ahead of Trump's visit. This is a very big gift India has prepared for Trump. But from a long-term perspective, and considering Modi's "Make in India" strategy, India is more likely to cooperate with the US if Washington offers to jointly produce weapons.

Another objective of Trump is trade. Since Trump took office, he has launched several trade wars with major trade partners, and India has been one of the targets. Trump not only labeled India one of the world's "highest taxing nations," but also complained that outsourcing services in India were costing Americans jobs.

Since 2018, there have been trade frictions between India and the US, though they resulted in limited impact. In June 2019, the US ended India's preferential trade status, triggering the Indian government's retaliation by imposing 120 percent tariffs on 28 American products. These tit-for-tat trade moves greatly harmed bilateral ties.

Still the US looks to India's economic prospects. Normalization of US-India trade ties will help US companies gain a greater share of the promising Indian market. India also hopes the US market and investment will boost its own economy. Restoration of India's preferential trade status with the US will be Modi's key goal in his meeting with Trump. “

(Compiled from international media reports)

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Published: 25 Feb 2020, 2:01 PM