Lack of time makes Obama give Golden Temple, Taj a miss (Lead)

November 2nd, 2010 - 12:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, Nov 2 (IANS) The White House has clarified that US President Barack Obama will not visit Amritsar’s Golden Temple and the Taj Mahal at Agra due to paucity of time.

“Anybody that would go to (India), would love to… spend a lot more time there,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Monday when asked why Obama is not visiting the Sikhs’ holiest shrine or the 17th century monument.

“We’re afforded a short trip to a very important country in a very important region of the world because the trip obviously is also anchored by the important economic meetings later on in the trip,” he said.

“We are in India for three days… you could spend a lot longer than that, and obviously anybody would. We picked our schedule based on what we wanted to get accomplished, and that focus was on New Delhi and Mumbai, and that’s going to be the focus of our trip,” he added.

Obama will arrive in Mumbai Nov 6, a day after Diwali. After spending two days there, he will reach New Delhi on the evening of Nov 7 for a private dinner with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

After a packed day of official engagements Nov 8, he is scheduled to leave for Jakarta Nov 9 for the onward trip to Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

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

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