President Obama’s upcoming visit to India includes viewing the Taj Mahal and a major holiday parade and hopes for progress on climate change negotiations.
Obama and his host, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will also speak with a group of CEOs during a largely ceremonial visit designed to highlight the U.S.-India relationship.
“From the time the president took office, he’s made increasing U.S. engagement with India top foreign policy priority,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.
In addition to climate change, national security issues will be on the Obama-Modi agenda, including ongoing Indian tensions with Pakistan, the wind-down of the war in Afghanistan, and nuclear negotiations with Iran. (Unlike previous presidential visits, Obama is not planning a companion trip to Pakistan.) Other topics will include education, space exploration and nuclear power development.
Officials prepared for the India visit after Obama accepted Modi’s invitation to attend the annual Republic Day parade in New Delhi.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama will leave the White House late Friday for an overnight flight to New Delhi, where they will land early Sunday local time.
Later that day, Obama plans to visit memorials to Indian and American civil rights icons Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Obama and Modi have formal meetings Sunday as well.
Monday is the parade to celebrate India’s Republic Day. Obama will be the first American president to attend the ceremony.
Once a British colony, India established Republic Day to celebrate its constitution and the founding of its democracy. The parade features a display of military hardware as well as marching bands, horses, camels, and floats adorned with massive floral arrangements.