Obama’s India trip to establish ‘true strategic ties’

Obama’s India trip to establish ‘true strategic ties’

Washington: US President Barack Obama’s visit to India in November would not only elevate bilateral ties, but also establish a “true strategic partnership" between the world’s largest democracies, a top official said on Thursday.

The President’s trip to New Delhi, Mumbai and Amritsar “will take stock of the advancement of the relationship between the two countries," the official told reporters when asked about the significance of the forthcoming visit of Obama to India.

The schedule of Obama’s visit to India has not been announced yet, but he is likely to start from Mumbai; in recognition of emerging economic clout of the country as well as the influence of Bollywood all over the world.

Obama’s overnight stay in Mumbai, officials said, would also be a tribute to those killed in the 2008 attacks and show of solidarity with India against its war on terrorism.

Obama -- as the then President-elect -- was among the first few American leaders to call the then Indian ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen, in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks and had vowed to work with India to bring the perpetrators to justice.

While the Indo-US civil nuclear deal was the highlight of the previous Bush era, the anti-terror cooperation between the two countries has really picked up during the Obama administration; which is reflected in the trips that the CIA and FBI chiefs have made to India in less than two years now.

“With this administration, you have seen the elevation and development of the relationship," the official said.

The senior administration official said a great deal of work has been done to make the relationship between the United States and India truly strategic. “We are engaged in a wide range of issues working intensively on regional issues but also global issues."

“I think this (the visit) will be a manifestation of the hard work within this administration over almost two years to elevate the relationship and expected in the President’s trip you will see the full range of the issues with which the two countries are working," the official said in response to a question.