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Trump Announces $3 Bln Defense Deal With India

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U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday announced more than $3 billion of defense deals with India for helicopters and other military equipment on his arrival for a two-day tour of the South Asian country.

"I'm pleased to announce that tomorrow our representatives will sign deals to sell over $3 billion, in the absolute finest state of the art military helicopters and other equipment to the Indian armed forces," Trump said while speaking at the "Namaste Trump" event in Ahmedabad, the capital of the western state of Gujarat.

The deals, which will be signed Tuesday, include purchase of 24 Seahawk maritime helicopters worth $2.6 billion to Indian navy.

The State Department recently approved the sale of Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS) worth $1 billion to India.

Tens of thousands attended the event held in the mammoth Motera cricket stadium, which was more than twice the size of the "Howdy Modi" rally held in honor of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year at a football stadium in Houston.

Trump was accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump in his first official visit to India.

"We are in the early stages of trade deal with India", Trump said, as a long-standing trade dispute remains the stumbling block. He called the Indian leader a "tough negotiator."

Trump said Washington is looking forward to cooperating with New Delhi in the second leg of India's space mission Chandrayaan. "America loves India, America respects India and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people," he added.

Modi hailed Donald Trump for strengthening bilateral relationship.

"Trump's visit is a new chapter in the relationship between the U.S. and India, a chapter that will document the progress and prosperity of Americans and Indians," he said.

On his way to the stadium, the U.S. President participated in a miles-long roadshow, featuring performers from across the country. Trump attended the rally after visiting the Sabarmati Ashram, where the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi lived during years of India's independence struggle.

Trump and Melania later visited the Taj Mahal in Agra.

They will leave for the capital city of New Delhi Monday night.

On Tuesday, the second day of his two-day visit, Trump is expected to participate in crucial trade talks and defense deals.

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