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Trump tries to shift focus of India trip from spectacle to substance

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Image: IPrime Minister Narendra Modi, President Donald Trump and First Lady
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday.   -   Copyright  PRAKASH SINGH
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NEW DELHI — President Donald Trump's Indiaitinerary on Tuesday attempts to shift the focus of his trip from spectacle to substance, with a series of official meetings and formalities.Trump held an official meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where he said the two leaders hoped to make progress on trade, energy and defense issues.The two leaders are scheduled afterward to deliver public statements.Trump is likely to further highlight new commercial ties between the U.S. and India on Tuesday, including at a business event. On Monday he announced India is expected to purchase $3 billion in American-made military equipment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday.PRAKASH SINGH

Trump also praised Modi for arranging an event Monday that turned out an estimated 125,000 people to hear the president and prime minister speak.While Monday was defined by Modi shining the spotlight on his guest — with cheering crowds and tours of some of India's most significant cultural sites — on Tuesday the president will show deference to his host."The last two days have been amazing in every sense of the word," Trump said.Earlier Tuesday, the president and first lady Melania Trump placed a wreath and scattered flower petals at a memorial for Mahatma Gandhi near India's sprawling presidential palace, Rashtrapati Bhavan.Trump began the day with an elaborate welcome ceremony at the presidential palace. His vehicle was escorted onto the grounds by Indian soldiers on horseback, amid the sound of cannons being fired. He then walked along a red carpet rolled out on the burnt orange soil for a review of dozens of uniformed Indian troops.Trump is scheduled to wrap up his two-day trip with a news conference, followed by a state dinner with Modi. He'll then return to Washington.