Obama’s High-Profile India Republic Day Visit: What to Expect?

As the Republic Day parade nears with just a fortnight left, India said it was looking forward with great enthusiasm to the “landmark” visit of US President Barack Obama as both sides were keen to have “excellent outcome” from the high-profile visit.

(141113) -- NAY PYI TAW, Nov. 13, 2014 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on Nov. 13, 2014. The 2nd  ASEAN-U.S. Summit was held here on Thursday. (Xinhua/Liu Yun)

File Photo of U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on Nov. 13, 2014. (Xinhua/Liu Yun)

Obama will be the first US president attending as chief guest to the Republic Day parade on January 26, and it is his second visit to India. “I can confirm that the government of India is looking forward with great enthusiasm” to the visit, external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said at a briefing in Delhi.

He said US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in Gandhinagar to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday during which both held talks on the agenda for Obama’s visit.

He said talks were on regarding the outcome of the visit, and added: “Both India and the US look at this as a landmark visit, both are keen to have excellent outcomes of the visit”.

Amid reports that Obama might be visiting Agra or Varanasi, the spokesperson said the logistical details of the US president’s visit would be worked out later by senior officials.

In Gandhinagar, Kerry told reporters that both sides would strive to make progress on issues like defence agreements, the civil nuclear agreement as well as economic issues.

During his speech at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Kerry said Obama was “very excited and particularly pleased” that he will be the first US president to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade.

Obama had last visited India in 2010. He will be the first US president to visit India twice while in office. Modi met Obama during his visit to the US in September 2014.(IANS)

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