Trump expresses optimism about eventual U.S.-India trade deal

NEW DELHI (AP) — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he's optimistic about the prospects of inking a trade deal with India despite moves by both sides that created doubt about the ability to reach an agreement.

Trump emerged from a pair of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi citing progress toward a deal but offering no details. Trump had made clear before the trip that hammering out a long-sought trade deal with India was unlikely during the two-day trip.

“Our teams have made tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement and I'm optimistic we can reach a deal that will be of great importance to both countries,” Trump told reporters on the second and final day of his whirlwind, 36-hour, first official visit to India.

The day began with an elaborate welcome ceremony in front of the grand Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace in New Delhi, continuing the pomp and pageantry the Indian government had lavished on Trump a day earlier.

Cannons fired as the president's armored car, nicknamed "The Beast," rolled through the palace gates accompanied by a parade of red-uniformed guards on horseback. The ceremony included hundreds of military officials, marching with instruments and swords, as well as an official greeting by India's president and Modi.

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President Donald Trump, with first lady Melania Trump, pause as they tour the Taj Mahal, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Agra, India. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
U.S. President Donald Trump signs visitors book as first lady Melania Trump watches during their visit to the Taj Mahal, the 17th century monument to love in Agra, India, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump is greeted by children upon her arrival at Sarvodaya Co-Educational Senior Secondary School in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stand before their meeting at Hyderabad House, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
U.S. President Donald Trump offers floral respects, with first lady Melania Trump standing beside him, at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
U.S. President Donald Trump inspects a joint military guard of honor during his ceremonial welcome at the Indian Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
U.S. President Donald Trump offers floral respects at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
U.S. President Donald Trump, and first lady Melania Trump, participate in a tree planting ceremony at Raj Ghat, a Mahatma Gandhi memorial, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands after giving a joint statement in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sit for a meeting at Hyderabad House, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leave after giving a joint statement in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, center, holds the arms of U.S. President Donald Trump, as first lady Melania Trump walks behind them for a photo op during a ceremonial welcome for Trump at the Indian Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2R) greets US President Donald Trump upon his arrival at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during 'Namaste Trump Rally' at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump sit next to a charkha, or spinning wheel, as India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) looks on during their visit at Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) arrives to greet US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
People wait beside a street to catch a glimpse of US President Donald Trump's motorcade in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump disembark from Air Force One at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
People wait beside a street to catch a glimpse of US President Donald Trump's motorcade in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the US Secret Service and Indian Special Protection Group (SPG) stand guard during 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
The motorcade of US President Donald Trump drives along a road on its way to the Gandhi Ashra, in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY / AFP) (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks during 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) speaks as US President Donald Trump (R back) listens during 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman explains about a charkha, or spinning wheel, to US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump (L) during their visit at Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel Ngan / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman explains about a charkha, or spinning wheel, to US President Donald Trump (R)during his visit at Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel Ngan / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
People listen to US President Donald Trump during 'Namaste Trump Rally' at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) speaks as First Lady Melania Trump (R) and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) listen during 'Namaste Trump Rally' at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks during 'Namaste Trump Rally' at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (C) attend 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (C) attend 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Musicians on camel perform before 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C), First Lady Melania Trump (R) and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive to attend 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive to attend 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during 'Namaste Trump Rally' at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during 'Namaste Trump Rally' at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive to attend 'Namaste Trump' rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A cutout of US President Donald Trump is seen as people wait beside a street to catch a glimpse of his motorcade in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C) kisses White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump as India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) looks on upon their arrival at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) speaks with US First Lady Melania Trump as President Donald Trump looks on upon their arrival at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) walks with US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump upon their arrival at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind shakes hand with U.S. President Donald Trump during a ceremonial welcome for Trump at the Indian Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands before their meeting at Hyderabad House, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Indian policemen take a selfie on a street decorated with floral arrangements in Agra, India, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to travel to the Taj Mahal, the 17th century monument to love later Monday. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, left, Ivanka Trump, the daughter and assistant to President Donald Trump, and White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, applaud during a "Namaste Trump," event at Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Ahmedabad, India. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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But tensions had mounted a day earlier in New Delhi as at least seven people, including a police officer, were killed and dozens were injured in clashes between hundreds of supporters and opponents of a new citizenship law in India that provides fast-track naturalization for some foreign-born religious minorities but not Muslims, police said Tuesday.

There were no protests in the capital on Tuesday, when Modi hosted Trump at Hyderabad House for the official portion of the president's visit.

Following talks with Modi, Trump announced that India had signed a deal to buy more than $3 billion of advanced military equipment, including helicopters, as he continued to shower praise on Modi for the opulent and colorful welcome spread across three cities.

“The last two days were amazing in every sense of the word," Trump said as he and Modi briefly addressed reporters after the first of their two meetings. Trump described the trip as “unforgettable,” “extraordinary” and an expression of “love."

He also told Modi that people who attended a mega-rally held in his honor at the world's largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad — part of an elaborate welcome for a president who revels in pomp and pageantry — were really there for the Indian leader.

“They love you in India and that's a good thing.,” Trump said.

Modi said he was thankful Trump visited despite the presidential campaign underway in the United States. Trump has said the short India visit was partly due to presidential politics.

“I know that it’s busy time for you in the United States,” Modi told Trump. "But despite that, you accepted an invitation to visit India. I welcome you and your delegation.”

Meeting with business leaders and attending an opulent state dinner

Modi said talks to ease trade tensions between their countries would continue. Those tensions escalated after Trump imposed tariffs on Indian steel and aluminium exports. India responded with higher penalties on U.S. agricultural goods and restrictions on medical devices, prompting the U.S. to strip India of its decades-old trade preferences.

Trump was to meet with business leaders, hold a solo news conference and attend an opulent state dinner before he boards Air Force One later Tuesday for the return flight to Washington.

Eyes also will be on whether Trump will criticize Modi over the new citizenship law, which has raised fears that the country is moving toward a religious citizenship test. Trump typically refrains from publicly rebuking world leaders for human rights abuses during his overseas trips. He spoke at length on Monday about measures his administration had taken to combat the threat of “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Trump has talked about “working productively with Pakistan” — India’s arch nemesis — to reduce homegrown terrorism in Pakistan, a comment that was sure to irk many Indians.

During Monday's protests, police fired tear gas and used canes as they charged at the protesters in several districts of New Delhi. The rival groups hurled rocks at each other and set some houses, shops, vehicles and a gasoline pump on fire. Police closed access to two metro stations in the area.

Trump, however, was far away from the violence. And everywhere he went, he encountered streets lined with cheering Indian citizens, troops of traditional dancers and roadways lined with posters and billboards celebrating his visit. Trump and first lady Melania Trump also went on a stunning sunset tour of the famed Taj Mahal.

On Tuesday, the couple participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mohandas Gandhi in New Delhi at the site where the famed Indian independence leader was cremated after his assassination in January 1948.

Trump had visited Gandhi's home on Monday.

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