President Donald Trump defended Narendra Modi against protesters of a new law that they claim is anti Muslim, saying the Prime Minister wants ‘religious freedom.’
‘He wants people to have religious freedom,’ said Trump at a press conference on Tuesday.
As the state visit was going on, violent protests broke out in Delhi on Monday over a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims.
Parliament approved the citizenship law in December that provides fast-track naturalization for some foreign-born religious minorities but not Muslims.
At least 7 people were killed and about 150 injured in the clashes that took place in another part of the Delhi, not close to where Modi is hosting Trump.
Police fired tear gas and used canes to subdue the crowds.
Trump declined to discuss the new Indian law.
‘I don’t want to discuss that. I want to leave that to India,’ he said. But he added that he privately had raised the issue of religious freedom with Modi.
The president had once proposed temporarily barring all Muslims from entering the U.S. and later successfully implemented a travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries.
Earlier Trump said ‘tremendous advancements’ was made in trade talks with Modi but no deal was struck to end the war between the two nations.
Both leaders were effusive in their praise for one another but underneath the glowing words were the stark reality that Modi’s lavish welcome for the president didn’t result in a deal.
The prime minister struck an uplifting note.
‘We are confident this will lead to good results,’ Modi said of their talks.
And President Trump thanked his counter part for the warm welcome he and first lady Melania Trump received.
‘We’ll always remember the magnificent welcome the citizens of your home state showed us upon arrival. It was a profound expression of strength and love. Really it was love,’ he said.
President Donald Trump offers floral respects, with first lady Melania Trump standing beside him, at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi
Melania Trump throws flower petals onto Gandhi’s memorial
Trump offers floral respects at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi on Tuesday
Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump offer floral respects at Raj Ghat
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump lay a wreath to pay their tribute at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi
Donald Trump said ‘tremendous advancements’ was made in trade talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi
President Donald Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi embrace during a joint press statement at the prime minister’s residence
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with President Donald Trump head of their meeting at Hyderabad House
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks as President Donald Trump listens during a joint press statement at Hyderabad House
White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner arrive at Hyderabad House for trade talks
A man is beaten during a clash between people supporting a new citizenship law and those opposing the law in New Delhi
Shops engulfed in flames set ablaze by supporters of a new citizenship law during clashes between two groups over the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi
He called the 36 hours he spent on the ground in India ‘productive.’
‘I know Prime Minister Modi will agree this has been a very productive visit for both of our countries,’ the president said.
And he noted ‘tremendous advancements’ were made in trade talks.
‘Prime Minister Modi, we have made tremendous advancements over the past two days and I know our two nations will continue to achieve new breakthroughs, unlock new potential and forge even brighter futures in the years ahead. We think we’re at a point where our relationship is special with India. I think the leaders of each country, we feel strongly about each other and we have done something that’s very unique and made some wonderful deals for each of our countries,’ Trump added.
A trade war that erupted after the president levied tariffs on steel and aluminium from India. India responded with higher tariffs on agricultural goods and restrictions on U.S. medical devices. In retaliation, Trump stripped the country of its preferential export status.
The two leaders agreed the U.S. would sell apache helicopters to India in addition to signing understandings on mental health and drug products along with a letter of cooperation between India and Exxon Mobil.
Trump, who has called Modi a friend, said relations between the United States and India have ‘never been as good as it is right now.’
The two men spoke after a private bilateral lunch meeting between them. The statements gave Modi the image he wanted – making a statement with Trump – without the prime minister having to take questions from the press.
Trump held a solo news conference later Tuesday.
President Trump and Melania Trump received a lavish welcome Tuesday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace and then paid tribute to famous Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, laying a wreath at the spot of his cremation and tossing flower respects onto the memorial.
‘The last two days have been amazing in every sense of the word,’ President Trump told reporters of his state visit.
The morning of their second day in India was filled with pomp and circumstance that was bound to appeal to the president’s love of ceremony. It included canons, uniformed guards on horse back and a tribute to the revered Indian leader.
The day began at the terra cotta presidential palace, a massive 340-room structure surrounded by 320 acres of gardens, where Indians officials rolled out the red carpet and placed flower pots around the area to greet the first couple.
Red-uniformed guards on horseback led the presidential limoscene into the compound as canons thundered to announce President Trump’s arrival.
The guards carried bayonets and wore long red coats and blue and gold turbans. They trotted their horses in step surrounding The Beast, as the armored car carrying the president is known.
Melania Trump wore a white dress with flowers and a red belt for the occasion. She stood beside Modi as President Trump reviewed the troops.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind welcomed the Trumps to the palace.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump met at Hyderabad House – the prime minister’s residence in New Delhi – to discuss the trade war between the two nations
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind at the ceremonial welcome
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk with India’s President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the welcome ceremony
President Donald Trump during the ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India’s Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace
President Donald Trump inspects honor guards during the ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India’s Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace
President Trump turns after reviewing a long line of Indian troops in baby blue, white and green
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump plant a tree in the gardens near Gandi’s memorial
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump pose before a meeting at Hyderabad House, the prime minister’s residence
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves as he arrives to welcome President Trump
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump arrive at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace
Guards on horses escorted the Trumps’ car into the palace
About 50 chairs were set up under a red and gold canopy for dignitaries to observe the ceremony.
Those viewers included Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, White House adviser Stephen Miller, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Ambassador to India Ambassador Kenneth Juster, and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.
A long procession of military soldiers, grouped by uniform color — first baby blue, then white, then olive green — entered with a band playing behind them and then stood at attention in front of the presidential palace.
Trump stood with his hand over his heart while ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ played, followed by the Indian National Anthem. He then walked a red carpet past the troops.
President Kovind introduced the president and first lady to the official Indian delegation. Trump then introduced Kovind to the American delegation.
The first couple then went to the Raj Ghat, a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.
They removed their shoes for the occasion, walking in sock feet to the black marble platform that marks the spot of Gandhi’s cremation, which took place a day after his assassination in January 1948.
An eternal flame burns at one end of the platform, which is covered in flowers.
The Trumps placed a large white flower wreath on the memorial and then tossed red and yellow flower petals onto it.
They signed a guest book and received a bust of Gandhi.
They planted a tree in one of the gardens surrounding the memorial.
The rest of the day will be filled with meetings as President Trump and Prime Minister Modi work on a trade agreement between their respective nations. The two leaders met for a closed-door luncheon at Hyderabad House.
Later in the day, the Trumps will visit staff at the U.S. embassy before attending a state dinner in the evening.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to pay their tribute at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend a wreath laying ceremony at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial at Raj Ghat
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump lay a wreath at the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi
President Trump throws flower petals in tribute to Gandhi
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial
President Donald Trump and India’s President Ram Nath Kovind shake hands
Ivanka Trump speaks with an Indian officer as they wait for a ceremonial welcome for President Trump
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind greet each other during the arrival ceremony
White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner arrive at Hyderabad House – the prime minister’s residence
The Trumps are on the second and final day of their two-day state visit to India after a busy first day that consisted of a rally with Modi, a visit to Gandhi’s home and a visit to one of the most famous monuments in the world.
The first couple stopped by the Taj Mahal Monday evening, capping off their first day in India with a sunset visit to the world’s most famous monument to love.
They held hands as they posed for photographers and spent a few minutes staring at the white marble tomb as the sun started to dip below the horizon.
‘It’s incredible, truly incredible,’ Trump said. ‘Really incredible, an incredible place.’
Melania also weighed in: ‘Lovely, beautiful,’ she said.
The couple signed the guest book and walked through the gardens as part of their tour of the tomb, built by a 16th century emperor for his deceased wife.
‘Taj Mahal inspires awe, a timeless testament to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture! Thank you, India,’ the president wrote in the guest book. Melania Trump signed her name under her husband’s.
It is not the president’s first experience of a Taj Mahal; one of his Atlantic City casinos also held the name and after a checkered history of corporate bankruptcy, was sold to Carl Icahn in 2016, closed, and bought for just $50 million by the Seminole Indian tribe of Florida who have re-opened it as a Hard Rock casino and stripped it of its minarets and dome.
One thing appeared to be missing from the visit to the real Taj: monkeys.
There was no sign of the nearly 1,000 rhesus monkeys who live around the tomb and who sparked fears of a diplomatic incident should they act out. India put extra ‘monkey police’ – guards with sling shots – on duty to keep away the animals.
Donald and Melania Trump stopped by the Taj Mahal to cap off their first day in India
Birds fly in front of the Taj Mahal during President Trump and Melania Trump’s visit
The Trumps visited the famous monument at sunset
President Trump and Melania Trump pose in front of Taj Mahal
President Trump called the Taj Mahal ‘incredible’ while Melania Trump said it was ‘beautiful’
The president and first lady ended their first day in India at its most famous monument
President Trump and Melania Trump arrived in Delhi Monday night to spend the night
Melania Trump waves from the Beast as the president limo makes it way toward their hotel
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner also posed in front of the famous monument to love and then Kushner moved aside so Ivanka could get solo shots in front of the tomb.
Built by a Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1643, the Taj Mahal is a tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. He built it for his favorite wife after she died giving birth to their 14th child. He is also buried there.
President Trump could have a special interest in the Taj. During his building days in the 1980s, he built the Trump Taj Mahal hotel and casino in Atlantic City. It opened in 1990 and cost nearly $1 billion to construct.
It came to closing in 2014 as its parent company went through bankruptcy, but ultimately remained open under the new ownership. It was sold again in October 2016 to the Hard Rock Cafe and reopened under that name.
The Trumps were given a framed photo of themselves in front of the monument when they returned to Air Force One to leave Agra for New Delhi, where they will spend the night.
The sunset trip to India’s most famous location came after the Trumps’ spent the day with Narendra Modi in his home state of Ahmedabad, where the president and prime minister got a raucous welcome when they entered the world’s largest cricket stadium.
The day gave the president the kind of pageantry and adoration he likes to see.
The 110,000 stadium was filled to capacity and Trump acknowledged the spectacle when he addressed the Indian people.
‘America loves India. America respects India. And America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people,’ the president said to cheers.
‘You have done a great honor to the American people. Melania, my family, we will always remember this remarkable hospitality,’ he said.
He later told reporters it was a ‘fantastic event.’
‘I thought it was fantastic,’ he said on his way to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. ‘They worked really hard.’
President Trump received the welcome he wanted when he touched down in India Monday morning – a spectacle of Indians lining the streets cheering on his motorcade, guards on camels standing by, and native dancers in bright costumes moving to live music and the beat of the drum.
Modi designed the day to appeal to an audience of one: Trump, wooing the president as the two nations struggle to end a trade war that has damped relations between them.
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for a ‘Namaste Trump’ event at Sardar Patel Stadium
President Donald Trump hugged Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he and Melania arrived in India, which was a rare display of affection from the president and spoke of his affection for Modi
President Trump and Melania Trump – who donned prayer shawls and removed their shoes – visited the home of Gandhi where Trump tried his hand at the loom
The stadium, which was filled with capacity saw people sitting in the sun head out as the two leaders wrapped up their remarks
Melania Trump and President Trump exit Sardar Patel Stadium – the world’s largest cricket stadium – after Trump’s remarks
The colorful and festive arrival ceremony in India featured dancers and live music as the Trumps and Modi walked the red carpet
Security forces and their camels greet President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they arrive at the Namaste Trump event
Thousands lined the streets to welcome the Trumps but it was not the million people the president predicted would come out to greet him
Ivanka Trump and Jared Trump, the president’s daughter and son-in-law who serve as White House advisers, joined the president on the trip
President Trump’s motorcade moves through Ahmedabad as Indians lined the streets to cheer him on one said and the other side shows a wall officials built to cover the nation’s infamous slums
President Trump, for his part, hugged Modi upon his arrival in the country in a rare display of affection that spoke volumes for his fondness for the prime minister.
Their three hours on the ground in Modi’s home state of Ahmedabad brought out thousands of cheering Indians, but not the millions Trump predicted would come out to greet him. Officials estimated about 100,000 people lined the 14-mile route the Trumps took through the city.
The Trumps were headed to the Taj Mahal after their time in Ahmedabad.
In their first stop in India, President Trump and Melania joined Modi for a visit to the home of Mohandas Gandhi, where the president donned a prayer shawl and removed his shoes to learn about the life of the famed independence leader.
Then it was on to the main event – the massive rally Modi had promised Trump, held at the biggest cricket stadium in the world.
Trump, who loves a large crowd, added on to the 110,000 capacity size when he thanked the crowd for its warm welcome.
‘To the hundreds of thousands of everyday citizens who come out and line the streets in a stunning display of Indian culture and kindness, and to the 125,000 people in this great stadium today, thank you for the spectacular welcome,’ he said.
Sardar Patel Stadium was packed to capacity, with thousands wearing white ‘Namaste Trump’ hats and waving masks of Trumps and Modi, cheering as the two leaders entered to the Village Men song ‘Macho Man.’
But the sections of the stadium facing the sun emptied out as the leaders wrapped up their remarks. The day was hot and baking.
Seats in Sardar Patel Stadium started to empty as President Trump and Prime Minister Modi wrapped up their remarks as the day was hot and baking
Prime Minister Modi welcomed President Trump to the world’s largest cricket stadium
In his remarks at the stadium, Trump praised Modi’s leadership of the country.
‘India will soon be the home of the biggest middle class anywhere in the world, and within less than ten years, extreme poverty in your country is projected to completely disappear,’ Trump said.
He stumbled over Indian names, including over one of their spiritual gurus and famous cricket player Sachin Tendulkar.
The president also hit upon some of the talking points he uses in his campaign rallies, touting the strong U.S. economy, advocating for stronger border control, and bragging about the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.
‘Every nation has the right to secure and patrol borders,’ Trump said.
He also discussed relations with Pakistan, India’s neighbor and rival, and said the U.S. was working with them to fight terrorism.
The president also mentioned the trade war that has aggravated relations between Delhi and Washington.
Trade talks are at the top of the agenda even as American officials down played expectations a deal would be reached during Trump’s two-days on the ground.
‘Modi and I will discuss the efforts to expand the economic ties,’ President Trump said. ‘We will be making very very major, the biggest ever trade deals.’
‘I am optimistic that working together the prime minister can reach a fantastic deal that would be good – even great – for both countries,’ he noted and then added: ‘Except he’s a very tough negotiator.’
Modi rallied the crowd by calling out ‘Namaste Trump.’
He praised the U.S.-Indian friendship, saying ‘new history is being created.’
‘Welcome all of you to the world’s biggest democracy,’ Modi said, telling Trump all of India welcomed him, adding that U.S. India relationships are ‘no longer just another partnership.’
The rally was designed to appeal to Trump’s love of big events, a crowd of thousands cheering him on as he and first lady Melania Trump came in.
Modi lavished on the praise to the president and his entire family, calling out the accomplishments of Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. He even mentioned the first lady’s ‘Be Best’ campaign by name and praised the work she has done with children.
Trump has touted his friendship with Modi and he hugged the prime minister when he touched down in India, a rare display of affection.
Indian officials rolled out the red carpet for the Trumps and have dubbed the visit as ‘two dynamic personalities, one momentous occasion.’
Modi was on hand to greet the first couple as they stepped off Air Force One as were an array of dancers in colorful native costumes, who gave a festive start to the visit.
Melania Trump attends happiness class and receives a traditional tilaka forehead mark as she expresses her delight at the warm welcome on her first trip to India
By Emily Goodin, Senior U.S. Political Reporter in New Delhi for DailyMail.com
Melania Trump received a traditional red tilaka forehead dot when she arrived at a New Delhi school on Tuesday to observe a happiness class as part of her Be Best campaign.
Students gave the first lady flowers and decorated her forehead with the tilaka, which is made of a fragrant paste, such as of sandalwood or vermilion, and given as a welcome and expression of honor to guests when they arrive.
Melania Trump thanked the students and the people of India for their warm welcome. ‘This is my first visit to India and I cannot express how delightful it is. The people here are so welcoming and so kind. The President and I are grateful to be guests in your beautiful country and to receive such a warm reception,’ she said.
Students welcomed the first lady with a traditional red tilaka forehead dot earlier today
US First Lady Melania Trump sits in a classroom with teachers and students during her visit at Sarvodaya Co-Ed Senior Secondary School in New Delhi
Melania looked relaxed and smiled and clapped as she interacted with the children at the school
Melania attended happiness classes at Sarvodaya Co-Educational Senior Secondary School, an educational program implemented by the Delhi government for students first through eight grades. She called the program ‘inspiring.’
‘It is very inspiring to me that students here begin each day participating in mindfulness,’ she said. ‘I cannot think of a better way for all of us to start our day.’
Happiness classes includes story telling, medication and yoga.
The first lady listened to a story told in one of the classes and joined the children in playing with legos in another classroom. She also observed a yoga class for fourth graders.
Her Be Best campaign focuses on the well-being of children. The first lady often visits children’s programs or schools when she travels abroad with the president.
Melania, dressed in a white dress with flower print and a red belt, spent the morning with President Donald Trump at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace where the first couple received a lavish welcome.
The First Lady interacted with student and admired their work during the happiness class
Melania Trump is garlanded by two young students during her visit at Sarvodaya Co-Ed Senior Secondary School
Melania Trump visited a local school in New Delhi to observe a happiness class
Red-uniformed guards on horses led the presidential motorcade into the palace. The first lady sat next to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to observe President Trump review the troops.
She and the president were greeted by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind.
The first couple then paid tribute to famous Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, laying a wreath at the spot of his cremation and tossing flower respects onto the memorial.
Melania Trump joined the president in removing her shoes for the occasion. They laid a wreath at the black marble platform that marked the spot where the independence leader was cremated after his assassination.
They also planted a tree in one of the gardens surrounding the memorial.
India has gone wild for Melania Trump, giving her equal billing on billboards welcoming President Donald Trump to the country and praising her signature Be Best campaign.
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind at a welcome ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace
The first lady tossed flower petals during a wreath laying ceremony at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial
The first lady received a boisterous welcome on Monday from the 110,000 capacity crowd at the Sardar Patel Stadium, the largest cricket stadium in the world, when she joined her husband and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a rally.
She didn’t speak but Modi praised her signature Be Best campaign, which promotes the well-being of children, in his remarks.
‘First Lady Melania Trump, your presence here is a great honor for us,’ Modi said as the crowd cheered. ‘Your efforts for building a healthy America are yielding good results. What you are doing for children in society is praise worthy.’
She smiled and waved to the crowd when she arrived and sat with the two leaders in their glassed-in box, surrounded by flowers.
The notoriously shy Melania was directly in the spotlight during the first day of the Trumps’ two-day state visit to India.
She was at every event on Monday, from a visit the Trumps’ arrival until they capped the day at the Taj Mahal, and appeared in nearly every photographic frame.
First Lady Melania Trump embraces a schoolgirl during her visit to Sarvodaya Co-Educational Senior Secondary School
She even spoke to the press – a rare occurrence.
During a stop at the Taj Mahal, the famous monument to love, the first lady simply said it was ‘lovely, beautiful.’
The Trumps held hands as they posed in front of the white-marble tomb. Their sunset visit provided for beautiful pictures and, as they walked along the gardens to visit the monument, a flock of birds took off in flight before them.
Melania Trump was a silent but equal presence to her husband throughout the day but Indian officials gave her top billing next to the president.
Billboards welcoming the Trumps to India feature the first lady’s photo prominently along side the president’s.
The first lady kicked off the trip when she stepped off Air Force One in an all-white pants ensemble with a green sash tied around her waist.
She warmly greeted Modi and walked behind the prime minister and her husband down the red carpet.