HYDERABAD, India — Ivanka Trump came to India to talk about empowering female entrepreneurs. But for many in Hyderabad, a centuries-old southern city that has emerged as a technology hub, her trip has been a chance to savor the glamour of the American president’s family.
On Wednesday, locals strained behind security barricades near a medieval fort hoping for a glimpse of their VIP visitor.
Irfana Begum, who was dodging barricades trying to figure out what road home was open for traffic, said she was very glad that Trump chose to visit, despite the inconvenience of getting about the city.
“She’s so confident and beautiful. Her father is the president. She’s like a queen,” Begum said.
Trump arrived in Hyderabad on Tuesday to lead a U.S. delegation of 350 at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit being held in the city. The three-day summit was jointly co-hosted by the U.S. and India this year.
She was joined at the opening by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who later hosted her for dinner at a luxury hotel.
Hyderabad was given a makeover ahead of her visit. Potholes were filled, traffic overpasses painted and the homeless made to vanish, at least temporarily.
The city rounded up hundreds of beggars, taking them to male and female shelters, and authorities also began strictly enforcing a begging ban on the city’s streets and in other public places.
In her speech to open the conference, which was broadcast live throughout India by major news channels, Trump spoke of the hurdles faced by women in business.
India has a low rate of women participating in the workforce. A recent World Bank report ranked India 120th among 131 countries with available data.
But for many in Hyderabad it was more about Trump than the issues.
“I don’t know much about her, but I know she’s an important person,” said Kashif, who gave only one name. “It’s a very good thing that she’s come to our city and to this place. It’s a proud moment.”
After participating in a panel discussion Wednesday, Trump visited the Golconda Fort ahead of her scheduled departure.
“Prime Minister Modi and his Cabinet members with him were incredibly warm and I think it was a very enlightening and inspiring summit for all those who attended,” Trump told reporters. “Certainly it was for me.”