obama in india

U.S. President Barack Obama struck a defiant tone in the first speech of his trip to India, saying Saturday that his stay at the Mumbai hotel attacked by terrorists two years ago is "absolutely" intended to send a message.
"We visit here to send a very clear message that, in our determination to give our people a future of security and prosperity, the United States and India stand united," Obama said at Mumbai's famous Taj Mahal Palace hotel, which came under siege in November 2008.
The attacks killed 164 people, including more than 30 staff members and guests at the Taj.
"We'll never forget how the world, including the American people, watched and grieved with all of India," Obama said. "But the resolve and the resilience of the Indian people during those attacks stood in stark contrast to the savagery of the terrorists. The murderers came to kill innocent civilians that day, but those of you here risked everything to save human life."
Just before the speech, Obama and his wife, Michelle, signed a memorial guestbook for the victims. In his message, Obama wrote about eradicating the "scourge" of terrorism and affirming "our lasting friendship with the Indian people."
Obama's commemoration of those attacks during his first event here underlined the importance that the United States is placing on boosting collaboration in dealing with terrorism believed to be centered in the region across India's western borders, analysts say.
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"Obama's Mumbai visit is symbolic of the perspective India and the United States share on terrorism. It should lead to strengthening of counterterrorism efforts," said V.P. Malik, India's former army chief.
The 2008 attacks, blamed on Pakistani-based militants, derailed a fragile peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Under U.S. pressure, the two nuclear-capable states held talks this year in an attempt to resume their fully fledged dialogue, but progress has been slow.
Mumbai is India's financial hub, and talks on business and trade were also a focus of Obama's three days here. Hundreds of American business leaders and chief executives traveled to Mumbai with the president.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Rajiv Shah, the head of USAID, the humanitarian aid agency, joined Obama for a meeting later with entrepreneurs.
Obama's three-day visit to India, Asia's third largest economy and one of the world's few growth markets, also includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi and addressing the nation's parliament.
"The simple truth is that India's rise, and its strength and progress on the global stage, is deeply in the strategic interest of the United States," said William Burns, under-secretary at the U.S. State Department, during a briefing on Obama's trip.
Obama's visit can also help balance regional geopolitics in the face of what is now seen as an increasingly assertive China, said Uday Bhaskar, director of the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi.
The Chinese and Indian prime ministers met in October in a bid to ease growing tensions despite flourishing trade between the two neighbors.
China's support to Pakistan, India's accommodation of the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, and a decades-old border dispute between the two sides are points of friction as the economic powerhouses jockey for influence in the region.
After India, Obama travels to Indonesia, then on to the G-20 meeting in South Korea and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) in Japan.

source : cnn

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