US President Barack Obama arrives in India today amid unprecedented security

President of the United States, Barack Obama, arrives in India on Sunday morning for a three-day state visit. His aircraft, Air Force One, will land at the Air Force Station at Palam here at about 10:00 am.

Last Updated: Jan 25, 2015, 10:38 AM IST
US President Barack Obama arrives in India today amid unprecedented security

New Delhi: President of the United States, Barack Obama, arrives in India on Sunday morning for a three-day state visit. His aircraft, Air Force One, will land at the Air Force Station at Palam here at about 10:00 am.

Obama flew out of the US along with his entourage from the Andrews Air Force Base on Saturday evening.

An unprecedented security cover, comprising Delhi Police and paramilitary forces, has been put in place in the national capital.

The visit begins a day after the White House announced on Saturday that the Agra leg of the much-anticipated visit has been cancelled as President Obama, along with First Lady Michelle, would instead fly to Riyadh to condole the demise of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Friday.

The couple were scheduled to visit the Taj Mahal on Tuesday before departing for the US.

On the eve of his visit here, President Obama said the ties between India and the United States will continue to deepen in the 21st century on the basis of democratic ideals contained in the Constitutions of both the countries.

After his arrival in New Delhi, Obama would be accorded a ceremonial reception in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He would then go to Rajghat to pay homage at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.

Obama would later head to Hyderabad House for bilateral discussions, which would be held in a restricted format. After the talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host a luncheon for Obama and his delegation, during which delegation level talks would be held, a spokesperson said.

The topics of discussion will include business climate, trade and investment, climate change and energy, defence and security cooperation, regional global issues, Afghanistan and terrorism.

On Sunday evening, Obama would meet President Pranab Mukherjee who is to host a banquet in his honour.

On January 26, Obama will attend the Republic Day parade at Rajpath as the chief guest - during which India's military might and cultural diversity will be showcased in a two-hour open air event.

In the evening, he would attend the At Home reception on the expansive lawns of Rashtrapati Bhavan hosted by the President.

Obama and Modi will also address business events in the evening.

On the last day of the visit on January 27, Obama would address a select audience at the Siri Fort auditorium on "India and America: The future we can build together" in the morning.

Modi and Obama would interact on at least seven different occasions during the three-day visit.

The two are also to record a joint 'Mann ki Baat' to be broadcast on All India Radio on January 27 at 8:00 pm, in a different take from the joint article they had penned in the Washington Post during Modi's visit to the US in September.

Apart from Michelle, Obama is being accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes, among others, Democratic minority House leader Nancy Pelosi and Ami Bera, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.

Ahead of his visit, Obama in an email interview to an Indian magazine, exuded hope about enhanced ties with "natural partner" India, saying he would like to think that the stars are aligned to finally realise his vision of the two countries being "global partners".

He also spoke strongly on terror emanating from Pakistan, saying that Washington has made it clear that "even as the US works with Pakistan to meet the threat of terrorism, safe havens within Pakistan are not acceptable and that those behind the Mumbai terrorist attacks must face justice".

Obama has also voiced support for India's membership in a reformed UN Security Council.

On ways to improve the bilateral relationship, Obama said the specific areas in which both can improve ties included creating jobs, improving education and creating more opportunities, including for women.

He also called for reducing the barriers to trade, investment and high-tech collaboration.

The White House has termed the invite to Obama for the Republic Day a "genuine honour" and said he was very interested in injecting a new energy and vitality into the US-India relationship.

Obama "is looking forward to see the festivities associated with Republic Day first hand", his press secretary Josh Earnest said in Washington.

(With agency inputs)