From Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, here are all the US Presidents who visited India

  • Donald Trump will be the seventh US president to visit India in the last 72 years.
  • India and the US embarked on their trade partnership in 1949 when India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited the US.
  • Modi and Trump are likely to address a joint rally at the world’s largest cricket stadium in Motera near Ahmedabad.

From Agra to Ahmedabad, civic authorities across several cities are aggressively working to clean and beautify the country to welcome US President Trump. The 36-hour visit of Trump and first lady Melania is expected to redefine the diplomatic ties between India and America.

Modi and Trump are likely to address a joint rally at the world’s largest cricket stadium in Motera near Ahmedabad. They have done it before at the ‘Howdy Modi’ event during September in the presence of 50,000 Indian-Americans in Texas.

Much ahead of the visit, rumours of a $10 billion trade deal were doing the rounds. But, Trump dashed hopes saying that it will not happen during the visit. But the countries are expected to sign a $2.6 billion defence deal to buy 24 Seahawk Helicopters.

Advertisement

The visit comes at a time when both Modi and Trump are going through a crisis of their own. India has seen a large number of protests against a citizenship bill while Trump is in the middle of an impeachment debate ahead of the US general election this year.

The US and India shared diplomatic ties for a long time, which went through many twists and turns. The US is India’s second largest trade partner after China and this visit could give a new direction to the escalating trade tensions between US-India. Trump will be the seventh US president to visit India in 72 years.

As Trump prepares his visit to India, here’s a look at all the US presidents who visited India:

Advertisement


74223320

{{}}

​Bells toll for Dwight D Eisenhower in 1959

​Bells toll for Dwight D Eisenhower in 1959

Credits: Commons

India and the US embarked on a trade partnership in 1949 when India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited the US. But it wasn’t until the next decade that a US President came to India. The first visit was by Dwight D Eisenhower in 1959 who received a 21-gun salute. During his four-day visit, he gave a public speech at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi and also addressed both the houses of Parliament.

Though it was a landmark visit for India, Eisenhower also established close relations with Pakistan. The next US president John F Kennedy never came to India but the first lady Jaqueline Kennedy did.

​Richard M Nixon tries to tensions in 1969

​Richard M Nixon tries to tensions in 1969

Credits: BCCL

Richard M Nixon, Kennedy’s successor, came to India in July 1969 to ease tensions between the US and India. He reportedly came to build trust with Gandhi. Her 1966 visit to the US turned out be a spectacular win for India when President Lyndon Johnson pledged large tonnes of food and aid. However, Johnson also veered towards Pakistan which resulted in strain in the relations.

But the visit did not go down as planned. Nixon is known to have used derogatory words for Indians. Two year after his visit, Nixon stood with Pakistan during the 1971 Bangladesh War.

Unlike Eisenhower who stayed for four days, Nixon spent less than a day in India.

Advertisement

​Jimmy Carter in 1978

​Jimmy Carter in 1978

Credits: US Embassy in Delhi

It took another nine years for Washington to send a President to India. Jimmy Carter arrived in India in January 1978 — three months after India concluded its general election in 1977. Indira Gandhi lost to the Janata Party’s Morarji Desai after people revolted against her for emergency period. Carter reportedly wanted to ease the tension between both countries — the Bangladesh War.

During his three-day visit he along with mother Miss Lillian — who is said to have spent some time in India as a Peace Corps volunteer — addressed a joint session in Parliament. He also gifted a television set to a village near Delhi, which changed its name to Caterpuri.

However things didn’t go as planned for Carter. He wanted Desai to call off India's nuclear ambition and had asked India to sign a Nuclear Proliferation Treaty. India refused and that soured the relations.

The trade between US and India however became stronger after Manmohan Singh — the then Finance Minister — liberalised Indian markets. Soon, the US became India’s largest trading partner but no President came to India for 22 long years.

​Bill Clinton’s visit in 2000 was the longest ever for a US President

​Bill Clinton’s visit in 2000 was the longest ever for a US President

Credits: Reuters

Bill Clinton visited India when Atal Bihar Vajpayee was the prime minister. Clinton came to India along with his daughter Chelsea during his five-day visit — the longest ever for any US president. He visited many cities including Hyderabad, Agra, Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi.

His visit was timed two years after the US imposed military sanctions on India and Pakistan for 1998 nuclear tests. That year, Clinton was also facing criticism for the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Clinton’s diplomatic intervention in the 1999 Kargil War had helped India. Clinton warned Pakistan to withdraw their position behind the Line of Control. Else, he said, the US would blame Pakistan for the war.

Advertisement

​Bush’s visit in 2006 paved the way for nuclear commerce

​Bush’s visit in 2006 paved the way for nuclear commerce

George W Wish and First Lady Laura Bush visited India in 2006 — six years after Clinton’s visit. At that time, Congress was in power with Manmohan Singh as the prime minister. Bush spent 60-hours in India during which he delivered a speech to a select audience at Purana Qila in New Delhi.


During this visit, US and India finalised the nuclear deal — which later allowed India to become the only country outside Non-Proliferation treaty to pursue nuclear commerce.

​Barack Obama is the only US president to visit India twice in 2010 and 2015

​Barack Obama is the only US president to visit India twice in 2010 and 2015

Barack Obama was the sixth US President to visit India with First Lady Michelle Obama. During his visit, he met the survivors of the 26/11 attacks, students of St. Xavier’s college and children at an NGO. Michelle Obama danced and sang with the children. Obama supported India’s demand for a permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

In 2015 — Obama’s second visit — he became the first US president to India’s Republic Day Celebrations. This time, Modi was the prime minister of the country. Obama promised to give $4 billion to India.

Obama’s two visits during 2010 and 2015 signified how India and the US have evolved their relationship. 'It showed that New Delhi had become important in the US scheme of things,’ then US Ambassador Lalit Mansingh said.


See also: Donald Trump ‘likes Modi’ but US may not sign a trade deal with India — here’s why

Advertisement