Why Obamas decided to skip Agra and the Taj

United States' President Barack Obama arrives in India on Sunday for a three-day state visit.

Why Obamas decided to skip Agra and the Taj

New Delhi: United States' President Barack Obama arrives in India on Sunday for a three-day state visit.

Obama, who is coming with his wife Michelle, was to travel to Agra on Tuesday to see the Taj Mahal before departing home. However, that visit has now been cancelled.

The officials reason: Obamas will instead fly to Riyadh on Tuesday afternoon, instead of going to Agra, to pay their respects to the departed Saudi King Abdullah and meet the new king, Salman.

While the White House has "regretted" the cancellation of the Agra visit, sources say there were many reasons behind the decision.

As per sources, US secret service agents and Indian security officials were not on same page as far as Obamas' security was concerned. US sleuths are believed to have expressed their dissatisfaction with the preparations made by the Agra administration.

Further, as per reports, the Archaeological Survey of India is believed to have turned down the request of American officials to allow US snipers inside the Taj premises. The US advance recce team was told categorically that only unarmed bodyguards would be permitted inside the mausoleum along with the US President and the First Lady.

The disagreement between the two sides also covered the issue of proximity to the Taj to which Obama's motorcade would be allowed. While the Americans wanted the convoy to go right upto the Taj, Indian officials rejected the demand citing the Supreme Court order which bars entry of cars into the 500-metre buffer zone.

While Obama is coming to India for the second time as US president, it will also be the second time that he will miss the opportunity to visit the symbol of love, the Taj Mahal, with his wife Michelle.