New Delhi: On a four-day-presidential trip to India, American President Barack Obama, along with his wife Michelle, arrived at the Mumbai airport and has taken off in his helicopter, Marine One, for a Indian Naval base in Colaba. (Watch: Obama lands in Mumbai) |
He will drive to the Taj Hotel from the Naval base.
The US President's plane, Air Force One, touched down at 12:50 pm.
President Obama and his wife walked down the ladder to a red carpet welcome and were received by Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Salman Khursheed, the minister-in-waiting for him.
The US Ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer greeted President Obama with a hug.
At the Taj Hotel where the American President is staying in Mumbai, he will meet the survivors of the 26/11 attacks. The third US President to visit India in the last 10 years and sixth in all, Obama will make a powerful statement against terrorism at the Taj, one of the targets of the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008. He will sign the visitor's book and later address a gathering to commemorate the memory of 166 people who were killed in the attacks engineered and orchestrated by Pakistan-based terror groups.
In all, five Americans were killed in that 60-hour mayhem that also targetted Trident Hotel, CST Terminus, Chabad House and Cafe Leopold. Of the five Americans, three were killed at Trident Hotel and two at the Chabad House.
Mumbai has been converted into a virtual fortress. Security has been tightened to unprecedented levels.
The President is clearly focusing on the Indian markets. His administration says that jobs and the US economy are on top of his agenda, which is aimed at inoculating him against any criticism that he is concentrating on foreign affairs while Americans are suffering with unemployment at 9.6 percent. (Read: Obama writes on his India trip)
On Obama's trip, the longest of his presidency so far, the White House hopes some commercial deals will be finalised, possibly including purchases of Boeing aircraft by India.
The US also will be pushing for more favourable terms for US exports.
Obama will spend about a day-and-a-half in Mumbai before heading to New Delhi, the Capital, for meetings with government leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
While in India, Obama will also be visiting cultural sites, including a museum in a home where Mahatma Gandhi once lived.