White House to announce Obama`s India trip

The White House will formally announce the much-anticipated November visit of US Prez to India.

Last Updated: Oct 27, 2010, 18:20 PM IST

Washington: The White House will formally
announce on Thursday the much-anticipated November visit of US
President Barack Obama to India.

The India-specific briefing would be done by top
officials from the White House Deputy National Security
Advisor Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for
Strategic Communication, and Under Secretary of State for
Political Affairs, Bill Burns.

Details about Obama`s visit to other nations on the
same trip would be announced later, White House Press
Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

India hopes to put a robust strategic framework in
place with the maiden visit of Obama in early November,
officials familiar with the trip said.

Informed sources familiar with the preparations said
the objective of New Delhi from this visit is to "consolidate
the progress achieved" so far and to put in place a "robust
strategic framework" that would herald a strong India-US
partnership bilaterally and on key global and regional issues.

The visit is being billed as the "historic visit" of
the third consecutive visit of a US President to India.

The deliverables were almost given a final shape
during the just concluded visit of top two State Department
officials to India Under Secretary of State for Political
Affairs Bill Burns, and Assistant Secretary of State for South
and Central Asia, Robert Blake.

Officials said Obama`s visit would take the
relationship to a new level, pointing out that there has been
significant progress in Indo-US bilateral ties over the last
two years reflected in the intensity and breadth of engagement
between officials of the two countries, which they described
as unprecedented.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself has met Obama
six times in less than 18 months.

And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had about a
dozen meetings with top Indian officials during this period,
including her own travel to New Delhi last year and her
hosting the Strategic Dialogue in Washington this year.

Obama has described India-US relations as one of the
defining partnerships of the 21st century- and the new US
National Security Strategy issued in May this year, identified
India-US relations as one of the three key global
relationships for the US.

"Our cooperation has expanded in scope to cover
cooperation in areas such as security, trade and economic
relations as well as scientific and social sectors," an Indian
diplomat said.

The official requested anonymity because the trip has
not been officially announced yet. "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.

PTI