"He (Obama) specifically wanted to have an opportunity to celebrate Diwali and to do so with the Indian people, getting beyond simply his official business," Jeff Bader, Senior Director for Asia Affairs at the National Security Council, White House, said.
Bader and other top US officials were responding to questions at "Tuesday Talks at the White House", a live web cast from the White House on the forthcoming 10-day Asia trip of the US President.
Commencing his four-day trip to India, Obama arrives along with First Lady Michelle Obama in Mumbai on November 6, a day after Diwali, and are scheduled to visit a school in the city on the following day.
"So he'll have the opportunity to celebrate Diwali with these schoolchildren in Mumbai specifically, and with the Indian people more broadly," the official said.
"Last year we were very excited to host the Diwali event, a celebration here at the White House, underscoring again the importance of the festival as a wonderful holiday," he said, referring to last year's Diwali celebrations here.
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