Indian students asked Obama very tough questions: US media

November 8th, 2010 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, Nov 8 (IANS) Indian college students posed “very tough questions” to Barack Obama, including on the US administration’s “unwavering support” for Pakistan, the US media noted in its coverage of the town hall meeting in Mumbai.

The Washington Post in its lead story noted how “Obama was challenged Sunday by an Indian university student to explain his administration’s unwavering support for Pakistan, exposing in a single question the central challenge to his goal of strengthening the US relationship with India.”

The influential New York Times made the same point in an inside story about “Obama Pointedly Questioned by Students in India”.

“The diplomatic response about the neighbour that India views with suspicion was indicative of the fine line Obama has walked on the topic of terrorism while here,” it said noting he faced criticism in the local press for not mentioning Pakistan when paying homage to victims and survivors of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack.

ABC World News reported that “college students in India asked Obama very tough questions,” and added that “none more fraught with diplomatic booby traps than this one”.

NBC Nightly News also reported that Obama “found himself having to defend American foreign policy on a highly delicate issue in India,” and noted that “the President shot back with a challenge of his own.”

Obama was shown saying: “It may be surprising to some of you to hear me say this, but I’m absolutely convinced that the country that has the biggest stake in Pakistan’s success is India.”

Obama faced a volley of pertinent questions, ranging from US support to Pakistan and on Islam and jihad, from a select gathering of college students at the St. Xavier’s college in Mumbai Saturday.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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