Obama likely to skip Bangalore

 Obama will land in Delhi on November 7 and participate in a series of official engagements the next day. He will address a joint session of Parliament on November 9 and visit Agra that afternoon.

His next point of call will be  Mumbai where he will stay at the Taj hotel, the target of the 26/11 terror attack. From Mumbai, Obama will head to a G-20 summit in South Korea. Although it has not been decided, he may land in Delhi after a brief stop over in Islmabad.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, official sources said the US president deliberately avoided Bangalore, ostensibly for political reasons. Obama, who has made several anti-Bangalore remarks relating to the IT arena as a visit to the tech hub would have seen him facing demands from the IT czars to revoke certain policy decisions taken by his administration including the recent visa fee hike.

Political circles say for Obama, visiting Bangalore would be akin to sending a message affirming US faith in the Bangalore-based IT and BPO companies, something that is opposed to Obama’s political line. Not long ago, Obama had said: “say no to Bangalore, yes to Buffalo”. On top of this, the recent controversial legislation (border security law) increasing H-1B and L1 visa fees has hit India's over $50 billion IT industry hard. The latest bad news has come in from the state of Ohio banning outsourcing by government departments to offshore locations like India. The Indian IT sector gets 60 per cent of its export revenue from the US.

 Why not visiting Bangalore would be crucial to Obama? US will be facing mid-term elections to the Senate and House of Represenatives as well as to some state legislatures and governors. Since Obama’s political moves will be keenly watched, he would not like to risk taking a step away from his known stand, say informed sources.

 Although is not known whether any agreements would be signed during the three-day Delhi visit, the Obama-Manmohan Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative is said to have been finalised with both the governments pledging $5 million each that will fund university partnerships and faculty development.

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