US President Barack Obama’s state visit to India in January to attend the Republic Day Parade will be spread over two days and include summit-level talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Kathleen Stephens, the US Charge d’Affaires in New Delhi, told attendees at a lunch party on Monday in honour of visiting US Trade Representative Michael Froman that the dates of the Obama visit would be January 25 and 26.
“The Ambassador told us that Obama will be coming to India on January 25 morning and leave on January 26 night so that he is well in time in the US for the State of the Nation Address on January 28,” a chief executive of an American multinational present at the Embassy function told HT.
According to those present at the lunch, Stephens said it was still not clear whether Obama would be accompanied by a political or a business delegation or both. The function was attended among others by India representatives of MSD Pharma, Mastercard, Goldman Sachs, AT &T, Northrop Grumman, Textron, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Avon, American Chambers and US India Business Council.
While the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of External Affairs have started preparations for the Obama visit, the Indian Embassy in Washington said the programme was still tentative and the final dates would be decided after Thanksgiving Day on November 27.
In the run-up to Obama’s visit, a number of senior officials from State Department and Pentagon are expected to be in India for preparation of the bilateral agenda. “We expect President Obama to arrive in India from a third country (though not Pakistan). Normally American Presidents like to club other countries in their schedule for long haul visits,” said a senior MEA official.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Modi are expected to host banquets in the honour of Obama, who is the first American president to be the guest of honour at the R-Day festivities.