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India trip to be Obama's longest stay overseas as President

Last updated on: October 16, 2010 11:41 IST
President Barack Obama looks out a window at Mount St Helens and Mount Rainier during a flight aboard Air Force One from Los Angeles to Seattle

Barack Obama's trip to India next month would be his longest stay overseas in a country as US President, which reflects the importance he attaches to building strategic relationship between the two largest democratic countries of the world.

Obama is expected to travel to India in the first half of November, the schedule of which has not been announced yet.

Inkling the length of his stay in India came from Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake in his address to the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs.

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What US President Obama will do in India

Last updated on: October 16, 2010 11:41 IST
President Obama meets advisors at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York

Obama's India visit 'will mark his longest stay anywhere outside the US' Blake said in his speech to the Baltimore-based think tank.

Informed sources in the administration said that Mumbai is likely to be the first stop of the US President, wherein he is expected to address a business summit of American and Indian corporate leaders besides attending events commemorating 26/11 on November 6.

Obama is most likely to travel to Amritsar and visit the sacred Golden Temple on November 7 for a day trip and reach New Delhi the same night.

His official meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, are believed to have been scheduled for November 8.

'We are still in the planning stages for a large number of big-ticket items'

Last updated on: October 16, 2010 11:41 IST
President Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office

"I don't want to scoop the President, and since we are still in the planning stages for a large number of big-ticket items, I don't want to jump the gun," Blake said.

"But I can give you the broad outline of how we envision the visit will frame the strong US-India partnership, and how specifically this holds great benefits for Americans," he said in his speech.

"As we work with our Indian friends to plan for the President's visit, I would like to address the three cross-cutting themes that will illustrate the breadth, depth and promise of our partnership. First, the visit will illustrate how India's economic rise has created new opportunities for mutually beneficial economic partnerships between our two knowledge-based economies," Blake said.

'We look forward to working with India on critical global issues'

Last updated on: October 16, 2010 11:41 IST
Obama with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (right) listens during an economic briefing in the Roosevelt Room of the White House

"Thinking about the emergence of developing powers -- be they India, China, Brazil or even Turkey -- tends to focus on how the growth of these nations could adversely affect economic conditions here in the US. But a recent study by India's Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry showed that Indian firms are investing almost as much here in the US as their American counterparts are in India," he said.

"The rise of India's civilian power on the global stage will complement our own efforts at rationalising foreign policy and emphasizing US civilian power overseas," Blake said, adding, "We will see India emerge as a global leader as it occupies a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council from 2011-2013."

"We look forward to working with India on critical global issues such as thwarting Iran's nuclear weapons programme, fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, and reinforcing human rights around the world," he said according to the copy of the speech provided by the State Department.

'We won't agree on everything, but...'

Last updated on: October 16, 2010 11:41 IST
Marine One lifts off from the South Lawn of White House

"We won't agree on everything, but our common values will ensure that our policies increasingly mirror each other," Blake said as he briefed the Baltimore-based think tank on the increasing strategic relationship between India and the US.

"As two of the world's leading democracies, we can help build a new global commons an international system in which other democracies can flourish, human dignity is advanced, poverty is reduced, trade is expanded, our environment is preserved, violent extremists are marginalised, the spread of weapons of mass destruction is curbed, and new frontiers in science and technology are explore. That is the moment, and the promise, that lies before us," Blake said.

"That is why President Obama hosted Prime Minister Singh to the White House last year for the first State visit of his Administration, when he called the US-India relationship one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century," he said.