Washington, DC: President Barack Obama on June 3 announced that he would be visiting India in early November 2010.
Speaking to a packed reception hall at the State Department building in Foggy Bottom, Obama said: “Dr. Singh’s visit last November, demonstrated that our relations with India are at the highest of priorities for my administration, and for me personally as President of the United States.” He added that he believed that India was a “leader in Asia and around the world. It’s a rising power and a responsible global power.”
Obama also said his administration’s new National Security Strategy released last week made the importance of India “absolutely clear.” He said: “A fundamental pillar of America’s comprehensive engagement with the world involves deepening our cooperation with 21st century centers of influence — and that includes India.”
The President said he looked forward to advancing the US-India partnership, to experiencing all that India and its people and its incredible ancient culture had to offer, adding in a lighter vein, “And I intend to create an ‘Obama Platter’” after noting earlier that a restaurant in New Delhi was now serving a “Hillary Platter.”
A senior administration official later said the dates of President Obama’s travel to India have been fixed from November 7 to 10. It is expected to be announced closer to the visit. The First Lady would also travel with Obama to India.
Looking forward to his visit to India, Obama quoted from an eminent European scholar who traveled to India more than a century ago: “Whatever sphere of the human mind you may select for your special study, whether it be language or religion or mythology or philosophy, whether it be law or customs, primitive art, or science, you have to go to India, because,” he said, “some of the most valuable and instructive material of the history of man are treasured up in India, and India only”.
Obama said: “So when it comes to the sphere of our work, building a future of greater prosperity, opportunity and security for our people, there is no doubt; I have to go India. But even more, I am proud to go to India, and I look forward to the history that we will make together, progress that will be treasured not just by this generation but by generations to come.”
External Affair Minister Krishna in his speech told the President that “the Prime Minister and over one billion citizens of India look forward to welcoming you and your family later this year.”