Trump India visit moves from pomp to trade

US President Donald Trump has met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his state visit.
US President Donald Trump has met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his state visit.

US President Donald Trump says India will buy $US3 billion ($A4.5 billion) worth of military equipment, including attack helicopters, as the two countries deepen defence and commercial ties in an attempt to balance the weight of China in the region.

Trump's two-day visit to India turned to substance after opening with a heavy dose of pomp and pageantry, but few concrete accomplishments were expected from the whirlwind trip.

The president kicked off his second day on the subcontinent on Tuesday with an elaborate outdoor welcome ceremony in front of the grand Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace in New Delhi.

Cannons fired as the president's armoured car, nicknamed The Beast, rolled through the palace gates accompanied by a parade of red-uniformed guards on horseback.

The ceremony included hundreds of military officials, marching with instruments and swords, as well as an official greeting by India's president and its prime minister, Narendra Modi.

A day earlier in New Delhi, at least seven people, including a police officer, were killed and dozens were injured in clashes between hundreds of supporters and opponents of a new citizenship law in India that provides fast-track naturalisation for some foreign-born religious minorities but not Muslims.

There were no protests in New Delhi on Tuesday, when Modi hosted Trump at Hyderabad House in the capital for the official portion of the president's visit to India.

"The last two days were amazing in every sense of the word," Trump said as he and Modi briefly addressed reporters.

Trump said progress was being made on trade, fighter-jet purchases and energy.

Modi said he was thankful Trump visited despite the presidential campaign underway in the United States. Trump has said the short India visit was partly due to presidential politics.

"I know that it's busy time for you in the United States," Modi told Trump.

"But despite that, you accepted an invitation to visit India. I welcome you and your delegation."

The leaders were also expected to announce an arms deal on Tuesday as part of Trump's jam-packed day in the Indian capital that will include a joint statement with Modi, meetings with business leaders and embassy officials, a solo news conference and an opulent state dinner before the president heads back to Washington.

Trump told reporters Monday that he's in "no rush" for a trade agreement with India.

Trump joked on Tuesday that the crowd had been there more for Modi than for him, saying people cheered every time he mentioned Modi's name.

"So they love you in India and that's a good thing.," Trump said.

Everywhere he went on Monday, Trump was greeted by thousands of cheering citizens, troops of traditional dancers and roadways lined with posters and billboards celebrating his visit.

Trump and his wife Melania also went on a stunning sunset tour of the famed Taj Mahal.

On Tuesday, the couple participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mohandas Gandhi in New Delhi at the site where the famed Indian independence leader was cremated after his assassination in January 1948.

Trump had visited Gandhi's home on Monday.

Australian Associated Press