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Trump's quick India visit gets serious

New Delhi — President Trump's two-day visit to India turned to substance Tuesday after opening with a heavy dose of pomp and pageantry the day before. 

The president said he's optimistic about the prospects of inking a trade deal with India despite moves by both sides that created doubt that an agreement could be reached. 

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

In a joint statement with Modi, the president also announced that India had signed a deal to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced military equipment from the United States, including helicopters. And he said the U.S. is working productively with Pakistan to battle terrorism there.

U.S. President Donald Trump visits India
President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi making a joint statement after bilateral talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, on February 25, 2020, the second and last day of a whirlwind visit by Mr. Trump and first lady Melania Trump to the subcontinent.  ALEXANDER DRAGO / REUTERS

Modi was hosting Mr. Trump at Hyderabad House in the capital for the official portion of the president's visit.  

The president's jam-packed day was also to include meetings with business leaders and embassy officials, a solo news conference and an opulent state dinner before he and the first lady head back to Washington.

Police said new violence erupted in the capital a day after at least seven people, including a police officer, were killed and more than 100 others were reportedly injured in clashes between hundreds of supporters and opponents of a new citizenship law that excludes Muslims. They said protesters in several areas of northeastern New Delhi defied orders prohibiting the assembly of more than five people and threw stones and set some shops and vehicles on fire. Some homes were attacked with rocks.  

The Reuters news service said Monday's violence was the worst in the city since protests against the law started more than two months ago.

Eyes will continue to focus on whether Mr. Trump will criticize Modi over the new citizenship law, which has raised fears that India is moving toward a religious citizenship test. Mr. 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."

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