By Lalit K Jha
(Eds: Updating with more inputs & changing slug)
Washington, Feb 14 (PTI) When President Donald Trump travels to India this month to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the two leaders will outline an ambitious vision for the next chapter of the "natural alliance" between the two countries, according to a top American diplomat.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will pay a state visit to India on February 24 and 25 at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi, it was announced this week. In addition to New Delhi, Trump will also visit Ahmedabad to address a joint public meeting with Modi at a newly-built stadium.
Commenting on Trump's maiden visit to India, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice G Wells, said the US president and prime minister Modi enjoyed a very special rapport.
"President Trump is eager to travel to India to make his mark on this very important relationship," she said on Thursday at a reception hosted by US India Business Council in honour of the new Indian Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
"We are approaching an important inflection point in the US-India relationship," Wells said.
"When President Trump and Prime Minister Modi meet later this month in front of thousands of roaring fans, they're going to outline an ambitious vision for the next chapter of this natural alliance," Wells said.
She reminded the American business community that it was two decades ago that the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee described India and the US as "natural allies".
"This year also marks the 20th anniversary of Prime Minister Vajpayee's historic visit to Washington during which he invoked that famous phrase, natural allies. We have come such a long way over the last two decades and are turning that vision into a reality," Wells said.
Ambassador Sandhu also described the upcoming trip of President Trump as historic.
"Within 10 days, we will witness the historic visit of President of United States to India. This visit will help to solidify our partnership across all spheres," he said.
India-US partnership, he said, is between people of the two countries and not just two governments.
The strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people have been the foundation of our relationship, he said.
"During the forthcoming visit of President Trump, you will witness the warmth of Indian people for the United States," Sandhu said.
Democratic Party Senator Mark Warner, who co-chairs the Senate Indian Caucus, also spoke on the occasion. PTI LKJ RHL AKJ AKJ