The most visible outcome of the visit, though, was the rapport between Trump and Modi.

From Modi’s home turf

Trump launched the first leg of his two-day visit, from Modi’s home turf of Gujarat. He tweeted in Hindi to say he’s on his way, hours before Air Force One landed at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel airport in Ahmedabad.

Modi received Trump and first lady Melania at the airport just before noon, and also spoke at the “Namaste Trump” event.

The city was spruced up as the airports, pavements, roads, and buildings, all got facelifts. Huge billboards of the two leaders and replicas of historic places in Gujarat popped up along the roads that Trump’s convoy took. As Modi and Trump made their way through the city, stages with singers and dancers dotted the 22-kilometer route. Security was beefed up several notches.

Trump and Modi participated in a roadshow from the airport to Sabarmati Ashram, the home of Mahatma Gandhi from 1917 to 1930. Several world leaders including Chinese president Xi Jinping and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe have visited the location. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos flagged off his India visit earlier this year by visiting Gandhi’s memorial, Raj Ghat, in the capital New Delhi.

From the ashram, the duo headed to the Motera cricket stadium for the “Namaste Trump” event, which was in the same vein as the Indian prime minister’s Howdy, Modi! event in Texas last September. Trump believed around seven million people would line up to meet him. Although that was a stretch, the stadium with a capacity of 110,000 people was filled to capacity.

“The US will always be faithful and loyal friend of India. Thank you for the spectacular welcome,” Trump said. Modi also praised Trump’s leadership.

Namaste Trump
Quite the turnout.
Image: Quartz/Manavi Kapur

The atmosphere was mostly jubilant—except behind the contentious concrete wall the government put up almost overnight to conceal slums, upsetting slum-dwellers in the bargain. Students at various educational institutions also questioned the need to splurge taxpayer’s money on this grand show.

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