Air Force One takes off from Andrews Air Base; Obama regrets Agra cancellation – Times of India

NEW DELHI: US President Barack Obama on Saturday embarked on his highly anticipated three-day landmark trip to India during which the two countries will strive to make progress on climate change, defence and economic cooperation.

Obama left by Air Force One, the presidential aircraft, from the Andrews Air Force Base.

Obama is accompanied by a sizable delegation that will include several top officials when he arrives in New Delhi on Sunday morning, the White House has said.

Earlier, the White House has issued a statement saying that US President Barack Obama regrets the cancellation of his visit to the Taj Mahal during his three-day visit to India.

The US president was scheduled to visit the Taj on January 27 on the final day of his visit but will now instead fly out earlier to Saudi Arabia to meet the new king following the demise of King Abdullah.

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US President Barack Obama’s India’s itinerary

The US President will be joined in India by multiple members of his cabinet, influential business leaders and a host of US lawmakers, including Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of the US House of Representatives during the trip. Air Force One will have a brief refuelling halt over Ramstein in Germany and will touch down in Delhi at 10 am on Sunday at Air Force Station, Palam.

On his arrival, Obama will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at about 12 noon at the majestic Rashtrapati Bhawan by President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Thereafter, he will pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at the Rajghat at 12.40pm and participate in a tree planting event there.

Obama will then join Modi for a restricted working lunch at the Hyderabad House and participate in a “walk and talk” with PM Modi there at about 2.45pm, the White House said.

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama walk to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base. (AP Photo)

The two leaders will then have an expanded delegation level meeting, which is expected to last for about an hour. They will jointly address the press at about 4.10 pm.

Later in the evening, Obama is scheduled to meet embassy personnel and families at ITC Maurya Hotel at 7.35pm. He will then drive down to Rashtrapati Bhawan to attend the state dinner with President Pranab Mukherjee at 7.50pm.

On January 26, Obama will participate in the Republic Day celebration as the chief guest along with the First Lady. Later, the Obamas will attend a reception with President Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

In the afternoon, Obama and Modi will participate in a CEO forum roundtable and deliver remarks at a US-India Business Summit.

On January 27, the US President will give an address at Siri Fort Auditorium and then leave for Saudi Arabia. He has cancelled his much-publicised visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal.

Obama will travel to Riyadh in order to pay respects to King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the family of the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.


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