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Friday, July 03
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US President Obama Kick-starts Historic India Tour


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New Delhi, Nov 6:  “Mumbai is an incredible city which is symbol of energy and optimism of India, ” said President Obama as he addressed the press at Taj while kick-starting the historic tour to India. Obama mentioned that his visit to Taj is a clear message to terrorists while reiterating that India and US are working closely than ever in the battle against terror.


 




President Obama landed in Mumbai airport around 1 pm kicking-off his much anticipated four-day visit to India where Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Protocol Minister Suresh Shetty received him as the representatives of the state along with Union Minister Salman Khurshid.


He then headed to INS Shikra air station at Colaba naval base in a Black Hawk while his dignitaries accompanied him in Chinook helicopters.

 





In a gesture loaded with symbolism, his first stop will be the iconic Taj Hotel, where he will attend a memorial service in tribute to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. He will also meet the survivors during the same. President Obama and his wife Michelle will be the most high-profile guests to stay at the Taj since the attacks two years ago. Barack Obama’s India trip itinerary.


The choice of Taj Hotel, the epicentre of the Mumbai massacre by terrorists, for his two-day stay has been described by Obama as a “tribute to the resilience of the Indian people” and to underscore the shared commitment of the two countries to counter terrorism.

 

“By staying at the Taj (hotel), I am pleased to pay tribute to the resilience of the Indian people, while also underscoring our shared commitment to counter terrorism,” Obama said.


 

He arrived at Taj in Presidential limousine ‘Beast’ from the INS Shikra air station at Colaba. He has signed the guest book at Taj and will be meeting the victims of 26/11 terror attack before joining the memorial service for the victims. Obama is accompanied by his wife Michelle and top officials in what would be the president’s longest foreign trip since he assumed office two years ago.


Addressing business leaders at the US India Business Council meet, US President Barack Obama announced that “several landmark” deals worth $10 billion have been reached between the two countries for creating about 50,000 jobs in the US.

    “There is no reason why India cannot be our top trading partner (from 12th position now). I’m absolutely sure that the relationship between India and the US is going to be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”

Obama pays homage to Mumbai terror victims

“Mumbai is an incredible city which is symbol of energy and optimism of India, ” said President Obama saluting the spirit of Mumbai as he addressed the press at Taj while kick-starting the historic tour to India. Obama mentioned that his visit to Taj is a clear message to terrorists while reiterating that India and US are working closely than ever in the battle against terror.

Obama said his decision to stay in Taj Hotel is a powerful message against terrorism and demanded that the perpetrators of the horrific Mumbai attacks should be brought to justice.

Accompanied by his wife Michelle, he signed the visitors’ book, looked at the plaque on which the names of 26/11 victims are engraved and delivered a six-minute speech in which he paid tributes to people of Mumbai and India hailing their resolve and resilience.

Excerpts of his speech

    “We will never forget the awful images of the 26/11 attacks, the flames from Taj Hotel that lit up the skies on those four days of November, 2008.”

    “We today, US and India are working together, more closely than ever to deepening counter-terrorism (cooperation), to keep our people safe.”

    “Here in Mumbai, the diversity that is India’s strength was in full display… Those who attacked Mumbai wanted to demoralise this city and this country but they failed.”

    “The very next day, Mumbaikars came back to work… Within weeks, this hotel was welcoming guests from around the world.”

    “The Taj is a symbol of strength and resolve.”

    “Just as Indians lost their lives on 9/11, Americans lost their lives on 26/11.”

My stay at Taj is powerful message against terror: Obama

26/11 failed, says Obama, paying homage to victims

Obama praises Taj manager Kang, Moshe’s nanny

India, US to deepen counter-terror cooperation: Obama


 

 
Standing not far from where 10 Pakistani terrorists sneaked through the sea route nearly two years back to attack India’s financial capital, President Barack Obama paid homage to the victims and demanded that those behind the carnage be punished.

But there was no mention of Pakistan in Obama’s speech, even as the masterminds of the attacks were moving around openly in the neighbouring country.


Today’s programme includes:


Memorial of 26/11 victims at Taj/meeting with terror attack survivors

Visit to Mahatma Gandhi museum Mani Bhavan.

Meeting with Indian and American entrepreneurs and CEOs at Trident, Nariman Point.

Address to US-India Business Council Summit at Trident.

 

 

 


FACTBOX: Corporate America’s Wish-List For Obama’s India Trip


In the mean time the Left parties will be holding a nationwide protest on the wake of Obama’s visit in protest of US pressure on India to open its agriculture, retail trade, education, and other services to MNCs.


Meanwhile nuclear scientist Kota Subbarao Buddhi, the father of Vikram Buddhi who is languishing in a US jail for the last four years after allegedly posting hate messages against former President George Bush on the Internet in 2006 has sought a “legal review” of the case by US President Barack Obama. He has requested President of India Pratibha Patil to arrange for a three-minute audience with US President to explain about the case. 


Another person who is looking forward to meet President Obama is Railway announcer Vishnu Zende, whose presence of mind during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks saved hundreds of lives at the CST station. Zende is among those invited to attend a function at the Taj Mahal Hotel today.


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