Obama likely to visit only Delhi, Mumbai during India visit

This was stated by highly placed sources ahead of the formal announcement of his schedule by the White House. If he visits only two cities, Obama would be following his predecessor George W Bush, who also travelled to just New Delhi and Hyderabad during his three-day stay in India in 2006.

But this would be unlike the visit of Bill Clinton to India in 2000 when he travelled to Agra, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Mumbai, besides New Delhi – five cities in total. Informed sources said that discussions were held on a number of other Indian cities including Amritsar – where an advance team had gone; but the White House finally decided to opt for only New Delhi and Mumbai, which it thought would be the best way given the time constraint.

However, this would be for the first time that a US President would be landing in India other than New Delhi. He is most likely to arrive in Mumbai in the wee hours of November 6.

The exact time is unlikely to be disclosed because of security reasons. In Mumbai, he is likely to kick-off his public engagement with some kind of commemorative events for the 26 /11 victims. Thereafter he is likely to meet top CEOs of India and the US; which is part of his agenda to give a major thrust to economic ties between the two countries.

"It has been the business sector, both Indian and American, that has helped shape this extraordinary US-India strategic partnership.

"It led to this moment in history when the two countries now are truly going to embark on a partnership of mutual respect," said Ron Somers, President of the US India Business Council, which has been asked by the White House to host a summit of Indian and American business leaders.

"What is foremost in every body's mind is that how a growing economic relationship between the two countries results in job creation in both societies. A rising, strong economically powerful India is creating jobs and opportunities in America as well as the inclusive growth in India. We are now in a very mature phase of our relationship," Somers said.

Officials said Obama is likely to hold his signature town hall meeting during his India trip, which would give him an opportunity to directly interact with the people. From Mumbai, Obama travels to New Delhi, where a very tight schedule awaits him. His formal guard of honour and the 21-gun salute are likely to be held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Monday, November 8.

He is expected to drive to Rajghat to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi who, Obama says, has had a lasting impression on his life. Obama has also been invited to address the joint session of the Indian Parliament.

He would hold extensive discussions with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which officials here say would culminate in a joint statement reflecting the cementing of ties between the two greatest democracies of the world.

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