Trump's India visit prioritizes pageantry over policy

AHMEDABAD, INDIA (AP) — President Donald Trump has basked in India's welcoming embrace during his first official visit to the subcontinent.

U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrive for a "Namaste Trump," event at Sardar Patel Stadium, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Ahmedabad, India. After Air Force One touched down in Ahmedabad in western India, Trump's motorcade slowly drove down streets lined with hundreds of thousands of onlookers. He began that day's high-wattage trio of presidential photo-ops: a visit to a former home of independence leader Mohandas Gandhi, a rally at a huge cricket stadium and a trip to the famed Taj Mahal. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump addressed cheering crowds Monday with his counterpart, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

More than 100,000 people packed the world's largest cricket stadium, most wearing white caps with the name of the event, “Namaste, Trump.”

Trump and Modi lavished praised on each other during back-to-back speeches to thousands of revelers packed into the stadium in 80-degree heat.

It was the biggest rally crowd of Trump’s political career.

But miles away in the capital of New Delhi, police used tear gas and smoke grenades to disperse a crowd of clashing protesters hours before Trump was to arrive, as violence broke out over a new citizenship law that excludes Muslims.

Later Trump and first lady Melania Trump took a sunset tour of the famed Taj Mahal.

Trump’s visit is meant to reaffirm U.S.-India ties strained by trade disputes. But it is also providing enviable overseas imagery for a president in a re-election year.

Trump and Modi are expected to delve into substance on Tuesday, including discussions about trade between their nations, before Trump heads back to Washington.

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