$200 million-a-day cost for India trip “an exaggeration”: White House

November 6th, 2010 - 3:28 am ICT by BNO News  

Barack Obama MUMBAI, INDIA (BNO NEWS) — White House officials on Friday denied that the trip of President Barack Obama to India will not cost $200 million per day as reported by Indian media.

On Tuesday, Press Trust of India reported, quoting an unnamed official, that the United States will spend $200 million dollars daily as President Obama will allegedly travel with about 3,000 personnel, including Secret Service agents, U.S. government officials and journalists.

“The huge amount of around $200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the presidential visit,” a top Indian official said.

Several officials from the White House and US security agencies were already in Mumbai since the past week with helicopters, a ship and high-end security instruments.

“The numbers reported in this article have no basis in reality,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said. “Due to security concerns, we are unable to outline details associated with security procedures and costs, but it’s safe to say these numbers are wildly inflated.”

In addition, it was reported that Obama requested 34 warship to accompany him during his Asian tour. However, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said “that’s simply not true,” and added that the overall cost of the trip is similar to costs when President Clinton and when President Bush traveled abroad.

President Obama will attend a ceremony for the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks at Hotel Taj, where he is expected to give a statement on terrorism. The area will be cordoned off completely during the visit of the president.

“Whenever you move any President in a foreign country, you not surprisingly take certain precautions,” Gibbs said. “The first stop on our trip is at a memorial for victims of a terrorist attack at the hotel we’re staying at. So obviously the Secret Service takes the duty of protecting this and any President seriously. They do an amazing job. And they’ll continue to do so.”

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