Obama in India: Day2: Networking aplenty but no new contracts announced today

Plenty of activity and a full schedule for President and Mrs Obama in Mumbai and Delhi today. There were no new announcements of any agreements or any business deals but no doubt these will be saved up for the final, ritual press conference.

Fielding questions from students on issues ranging from Pakistan to jehad, establishing an e-connect with farmers and breaking into an impromptu jig, US President Barack Obama got into the groove in more ways than one as he ended the first leg of his India visit here before heading for New Delhi Sunday afternoon. Obama took on a host of sharp questions from eager students at the St Xavier’s College this morning in Mumbai.

Obama met hundreds of American and Indian business leaders yesterday at the USIBC event. “India is the United States’ 12th largest trading partner. It could be number one or two if the conditions for trade between these two giant economies continue to improve,” said The McGraw-Hill Companies Chairman and CEO Harold Terry McGraw III, who is also the Chairman of the US-India Business Council (USIBC). Along with the USIBC Chairman, the meeting was attended by GE CEO Jeff Immelt, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, Honeywell Chairman David Cote, Reliance Industries Ltd Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Bharti Enterprises Vice Chairman Rajan Bharti Mittal.

Having mixed serious business with interactions with schoolchildren and a town hall-style meeting at St Xavier’s College, U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama began the second leg of their Indian trip in New Delhi.

President Obama has now arrived in Delhi where he was met at the airport by the Prime Minister.


Humayun's Tomb, Delhi: tripadvisor.com


It was as close to the slum-dog moment as the Obamas could get in their India tour. The US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met with 16 children of labourers at  Humayun’s tomb in New Delhi today. The children, aged between five and seven, do not go to a regular school because they are too poor. They receive informal education due to the voluntary efforts of Mr K.K. Mohammad, the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of India who has taken upon himself to get some basic literacy tools to these kids. At Humayun’s tomb, the children attired in uniforms of checked shirt and shorts spoke in Hindi to the U.S. President and the First Lady. They had small slate tablets in their hands and scribbled with white chalk on those tablets were the words “Welcome to India, Obamajee”. The President spoke to one eight-year-old Vishal, whose father Ram Das is a restoration worker at the Humayun’s tomb.

On the eve of their formal talks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama had a meeting in New Delhi on Sunday during which the two leaders are understood to have taken stock of bilateral ties and ways to push these to higher levels of strategic partnership.  Singh and Obama had a one-on-one meeting for about 25 minutes before the private dinner hosted by the Prime Minister for the visiting leader and his wife Michelle at his 7, Race Course Road residence.


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