NEW DELHI, Feb. 26 (CGTN) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that India will buy 3 billion U.S. dollars' worth of military equipment, including attack helicopters, as the two countries deepen defense and commercial ties that echo Trump's Indo-Pacific strategy.
India and the United States were also making progress on a big trade deal, Trump said. Negotiators from the two sides have wrangled for months to narrow differences on farm goods, medical devices, digital trade and new tariffs.
Trump was given a massive reception in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state on Monday, with more than 100,000 people filling into a cricket stadium for a "Namaste Trump" rally.
On Tuesday, Trump sat down for one-on-one talks with Modi followed by delegation-level meetings to try and move forward on issues that have divided them, mainly the festering trade dispute.
After these meetings Trump said his visit had been productive, with the conclusion of deals to buy helicopters for the Indian military. India is buying 24 SeaHawk helicopters from Lockheed Martin equipped with Hellfire missiles worth 2.6 billion U.S. dollars and also plans a follow-on order for six Apache helicopters.
India is modernizing its military and has increasingly turned to the United States over traditional supplier, Russia.
Trump said the two countries were also making progress on a trade deal, which had been an area of growing friction between them.
"Our teams have made tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement and I'm optimistic we can reach a deal that will be of great importance to both countries," said Trump in remarks made alongside Modi.
The two countries had initially planned to produce a "mini deal," but that proved elusive.
Instead both sides are now aiming for a bigger package, including possibly a free trade agreement.
"The United States has to be treated fairly and India understands that," he told a news conference, saying that "if a deal happens with India, it will be towards the end of the year."
While minor compared to his battle with China, Trump has imposed tariffs on Indian steel and aluminium and suspended duty-free access for certain goods in an effort to cut a 25-billion-U.S.-dollar trade deficit with Asia's third-biggest economy.
Under pressure to deliver ahead of his November reelection battle, Trump has pressed for greater access to the vast Indian market of 1.3 billion people for U.S. dairy producers and makers of medical goods.
But Modi, battling to fire up a slowing economy hampered by inflation and a widening budget deficit, has responded with higher tariffs on U.S. goods including 600 million U.S. dollars' worth of Californian almonds.
Trump said he also discussed with Modi, whom he called his "dear friend," the importance of a secure 5G telecoms network in India, ahead of a planned airwaves auction by the country.