Obama's India visit will establish true strategic relationship

"President's trip will take stock of the advancement of the relationship between the two countries," a senior Administration official told reporters when asked about the significance of forthcoming visit of Obama to India.

The schedule of President Obama's much-expected trip to India has not been announced yet, but he is likely to start his India trip – the sixth US President ever – from Mumbai; in recognition of emerging economic clout of India as well as the influence Bollywood spreads all over the world.

Obama having an overnight stay in Mumbai, officials said, would also be a tribute to those killed in the Mumbai terrorist attack and a show of solidarity with India against its war against terrorism that comes from across the border.

Obama – as President elect - was among the first few leaders to call the then Indian Ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen, in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attack and had vowed to work with India to bring the perpetrators to justice. While the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal was the highlight of previous Bush Administration, the anti-terror co-operation between the two countries have really picked up during the Obama Administration; which is reflected in the few trips that the CIA and FBI chiefs have made to India in less than two years now.

"With this administration, you have seen the elevation and development of the relationship," he said, adding this is going back to successive administration - the Clinton Administration, the Bush Administration and now the Obama Administration – all of which placed great emphasis on the relationship between the US and India.

The Senior Administration official said a great deal of work done to make the relationship between the US and India truly strategic. "We are engaged in a wide range of issues working intensively on regional issues but also global issues," the official said.

"I think this (the visit) will both be a manifestation of the hard work within this administration over almost two years to elevate the relationship and expected in the President's trip you will see the full range of the issues with which the two countries are working," he told reporters.

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