New Delhi: US President Barack Obama was Monday given a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by President Pratibha Patil.
Obama’s cavalcade, led by the horse mounted Presidential Guards, entered the forecourt of the Presidential Palace. Following a warm welcome by President Patil and her husband Devisingh Shekhawat, the Obamas shook hands with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife.
The US President then inspected a tri-service Guard of
Besides the President and the Prime Minister, a number of cabinet ministers were also present at Raisina Hill to officially welcome the US President.
In a brief statement, Obama said that he took this trip (to India) to strengthen what is already an extraordinary relationship between the two countries and said that he believes that the partnership between India and the US would be one of the defining friendships of the 21st century.
Reiterating his focus on business side of his visit, Obama said that he looks forward to build on the commercial ties that the two countries already have, and also focus issues like counter terrorism.
He also said that he looks forward to building people-to-people ties given that India is not simply an emerging power but is now a world power, adding that the US and India would be able to work tighter to promote international relations and peace.
“To all the people of India, Michelle and I express our gratitude for the wonderful hospitality we have received,” Obama said before proceeding to Rajghat to pay homage to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.
The US first couple laid a wreath on Gandhi’s Samadhi.
From Rajghat, Obama headed straight to the Hyderabad House for bilateral talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.