U.S. President Barack Obama has landed in New Delhi marking the beginning of a two-day visit to India marking the beginning of Obama’s second official trip to India. Obama, who made an official visit to India back in 2010 as well, is the first U.S. President to visit India twice while still in power.
The trip which was originally planned out across three days was cut short following the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Obama and Michelle Obama would now miss a trip to the Taj Mahal, which was a part of their original itinerary. Instead of visiting the Taj Mahal, he will head back to the United States on January 25 with a stopover at Saudi Arabia where several world leaders are expected to gather to pay their last respects to King Abdullah.
“The President regrets that he will be unable to visit Agra during this trip,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest informed the press in a statement.
Obama’s India visit came about after India’s newly elected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, invited him to join in for India’s Republic Day celebrations scheduled on January 26. Obama’s second visit to India also shows the warming up of relations between India and the United States. India is largely seen by the United States as a counter-force to check the increasing dominance of China in the region. Before embarking on his India trip, Obama on Saturday said that commercial ties between India and the United States will “continue to deepen on the basis of democratic ideals contained in the Constitutions” of both the countries.
Obama’s second trip to India has been marked by a massive security operation that preceded his arrival. According to BBC, over 15,000 new security cameras have been installed across Delhi. Apart from cameras, several roadblocks and sandbags are being used to protect the U.S. President from harms way. The Rajpath, where India holds its military parade, has been out of reach of common Indians for the past few weeks.
On January 26, Obama will be welcomed as the guest of honor at India’s Republic Day celebrations. This also makes Barack Obama the first U.S. Head of State to attend India’s republic day celebrations. Before he attends the celebrations tomorrow, he is expected to meet Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Modi. Obama is also expected to visit several business leaders on Sunday. Obama is also expected to deliver a speech via All India Radio along with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
[Image Via Hindustan Times/ JOD UK]