President Obama landed in India today and was greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who skipped protocol to give the American president a hug in what the AP calls "the warm relationship" the two share. During his welcome ceremony, Obama himself clasped his hands and bowed his head in namaste to the apparent delight of his hosts, whom he thanked for "the extraordinary hospitality." Obama later headed to talks with the key ally that were cover climate change, economic partnerships, and nuclear cooperation. Highlights of his jam-packed visit:
- Obama laid a wreath at a memorial to Mahatma Ghandi, clad only in socks, then helped plant a tree in honor of his visit. He quoted MLK in signing the guestbook, saying that the spirit of Ghandi "remains a great gift to the world."
- Obama is expected to prod India to curb carbon emissions, a point underscored by the local US Embassy's air quality index today: It was in the red zone, signifying "unhealthy."
- Between meetings, Obama and Modi strolled past lotus flowers in the gardens of Hyderabad House, casually sipping tea.
- Tomorrow, Obama is guest of honor at India's Republic Day festivities, which honor the implementation of the country's constitution. His presence has created a nearly unprecedented level of security, notes the AP. Politico adds that it will be Obama's longest public appearance since his own inaugural parades.
- Obama is cutting the trip short, notes the New York Times, skipping a planned visit to the Taj Mahal on Tuesday in favor of heading to Saudi Arabia to "offer his condolences on behalf of the American people" on the death of King Abdullah.
A former State Department official thinks it's imperative that Obama make tracks on the US-India relationship
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