President Trump (R) and first lady Melania Trump are shown the "Three Wise Monkeys" by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their visit to Sabarmati Ashram on Monday. Modi gave the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" monkey statue to Trump while on his two-day visit. Photo by Raj Patel/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday concluded first portion of a 36-hour trip to India, which was highlighted by large and jubilant rally at which he promised the United States will remain a loyal ally against "radical Islamic terrorism."
The president and first lady Melania Trump received a jubilant welcome in front of more than 100,000 at a newly built cricket stadium in Ahmedabad at a campaign rally-style appearance hosted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The event, followed by a visit to the famed Taj Mahal, marked a day of pomp and circumstance ahead of Tuesday's much more businesslike agenda, during which he's scheduled for extensive talks with Modi and expected to sign a $3 billion deal for military helicopters.
At Monday's rally, Trump lavished praise on India and its leader while promising to deepen U.S. relations.
"The United States and India are firmly united in our iron-clad resolve to defend our citizens from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism," he said at the stadium in remarks intended to shore up support among Indian-Americans for his re-election bid.
"India and the U.S. are committed to fight terrorists and their ideology -- that is why my government is working with Pakistan to crack down on terror groups. The U.S. will always be faithful and loyal friend of India. Thank you for the spectacular welcome."
The first lady also received a warm welcome from the crowd, which included thousands wearing white hats that read, "Namaste Trump," the title of Monday's welcoming party.
"I'm pleased to announce that tomorrow, our representatives will sign defense deals worth over $3 billion to sell the absolute, finest state-of-the-art military helicopters and other equipment to the Indian armed forces," Trump added in his remarks.
Welcoming the American president to his home state of Gujarat, Modi said a "new history" was created.
Following the rally, the first couple, daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner flew to Agra Air Base and toured the iconic Taj Mahal. Earlier, the president and first lady began their India tour with a visit to Sabarmati Ashram, one of the former residences of Mahatma Ghandi, who led the drive for Indian independence from Britain following World War II.
The presidential entourage wrapped the first day in New Delhi for their overnight stay at the luxury ITC Maurya hotel.
Tuesday, Trump will visit the official residence of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi and pay tribute to Mahatma Ghandi before beginning talks with Modi at the landmark Hyderabad House government hall.