The Latest: Trump jokes that crowds in India really for Modi

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NEW DELHI (AP) – The Latest on President Donald Trump’s visit to India (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is lavishing praise on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the Indian people love him “and that’s a good thing.”

Trump joked Tuesday that the thousands of people who joined the two leaders Monday at a huge stadium where there more for Modi than himself. Modi was re-elected with a huge mandate, leading his Hindu nationalist party to a massive victory in the 2019 election.

Speaking at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, Trump said that “every time” he mentioned Modi’s name there were cheers, “so they love you in India and that’s a good thing.”

On the second day of his whirlwind trip, Trump described his visit as “amazing in every sense of the word.” And he says progresses is being made on trade, fighter jet purchases and energy.

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11:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tossed colorful flower petals on a memorial to Mohandas Gandhi on Tuesday in New Delhi during a wreath laying ceremony.

The two scooped handfuls of the petals- Trump with gusto – their shoes off in a sign of respect. The memorial is at Raj Ghat where the famed independence leader was cremated after his assassination in 1948.

Trump also signed a guest book and was presented with a bust of Gandhi as Indian music played on a loudspeaker.

They ended the visit planting a tree at the site.

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10:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is kicking off his second day in India with an elaborate outdoor welcome ceremony in front of the grand Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace in New Delhi.

The president’s armored car, nicknamed “The Beast,” was welcomed with cannon fire and accompanied by a parade of colorfully-dressed soldiers on horseback as it arrived at the palace. The welcome ceremony included hundreds of military officials, marching with instruments and swords.

Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to talk trade and other issues Tuesday as the president’s two-day visit to the subcontinent delves into substance after opening with a heavy dose of pomp and pageantry.

The jam-packed day will include a joint statement with Modi, meetings with business leaders and embassy official, a press conference and a state dinner.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands before their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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