Trump visits Taj Mahal after promising to fight Islamic terror with India

Donald Trump has visited the Taj Mahal after promising to boost trade and fight terrorism on his official visit to India.

The US president and his wife Melania took in the iconic mausoleum in Agra at sunset, when it is reputed to be at its most beautiful.

Earlier, Mr Trump told a crowd of more than 100,000 in Ahmedabad, the US remained committed to India and lavished compliments on his host, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on February 24, 2020. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Image:The Taj Mahal took 16 years to build and was completed in 1648
Donald Trump at the 'Namaste Trump Rally' at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad
Image:Donald Trump at the ‘Namaste Trump Rally’ at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad

Mr Trump’s speech at the rally, named ‘Namaste Trump’ (Welcome Trump), largely consisted of a rundown of their greatest hits, as he listed Mr Modi’s economic achievements and called him a “very tough” negotiator.

He was full of praise for India’s spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship and won applause when he promised to help curb terrorism on the Pakistan border.

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tour the historic Taj Mahal, in Agra, India, February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago DOWNLOAD PICTURE Date: 24/02/2020 12:18 Dimensions: 2924 x 1886 Size: 1.6MB Edit Status: new Category: A Topic Codes: POL ASIA DIP Fixture Identifier: RC207F99EKAW Byline: ALEXANDER DRAGO City: AGRA Country Name: India Country Code: IND OTR: GDN324 Source: REUTERS Caption Writer: zuz Source News Feeds: Reuters News Picture Service - RNPS, Reuters Pictures Arch

Trump stops off at the Taj Mahal on day one of visiting India

Basking in the adoration of the huge crowd at a new cricket stadium in the city, Mr Trump said: “America loves India, America respects India and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people.”

The two men are friends and Mr Trump had clearly prepared, throwing in plenty of Indian references, although his pronunciation left a little to be desired.

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Donald Trump has started his trip to India with a speech about how much he appreciates Indian culture.

He called the Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar “soo-chin” and told the crowd Mr Modi started life as a tea-seller, or “chee-wallah”, when the word is chai-wallah.

Mr Modi was similarly complimentary and said India and the US have a “far greater and closer relationship than ever before”.

Hundreds of thousands of people, many wearing ‘Namaste Trump’ hats, lined the streets of the city to catch a glimpse of Mr Trump’s motorcade as it left the airport.

Donald Trump
Image:Donald Trump addressed 110,000 people in the stadium

The president is very popular in India, but sometimes faces demonstrations when he travels abroad, so the positive optics of being greeted like a returning hero overseas in an election year will not have been lost on him.

Earlier, Mr Modi greeted his guest with his trademark warm hug ahead of a visit aimed at cementing ties between the long-time political allies that have been damaged by arguments over trade.

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago
Image:Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump at Mahatma Gandhi’s former home
The two leaders embraced warmly upon Mr Trump's arrival
Image:The two leaders embraced warmly upon Mr Trump’s arrival

At issue is Washington’s demand for greater access to India’s poultry and dairy markets and a loosening of India’s pharmaceutical price controls.

Mr Modi’s government, in turn, wants to restore the trade concessions that Mr Trump withdrew last year and greater access to US markets for its pharmaceutical and farm products.

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The conflict led to retaliatory tariffs being placed on each other’s goods and officials from both countries have said talks are unlikely to make progress until after November’s US presidential election.

His first stop was the former home of Mahatma Gandhi, where Mr Trump and his host placed garlands on a picture of the architect of Indian independence.

हम भारत आने के लिए तत्पर हैं । हम रास्ते में हैँ, कुछ ही घंटों में हम सबसे मिलेंगे!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2020

Welcome to India

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 24, 2020

Before Air Force One landed, Mr Trump tweeted in Hindi: “We are ready to come to India, we are on our way, we will be meeting everyone in a few hours”, while Mr Modi responded: “The guest is God”.

Indian school children wearing Modi and Trump masks
Image:Indian school children wearing Modi and Trump masks

From Agra, the US president headed to New Delhi for a summit with Indian officials and business leaders.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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