Pentagon debunks reports of US ships being deployed off India for Obama visit

November 6th, 2010 - 12:14 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Washington, Nov.6 (ANI): The Pentagon has debunked and rubbished reports by Indian media that the United States will be deploying at least 34 ships and an aircraft carrier off the Indian coast for the duration of President Barack Obama’s visit to the country.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell dismissed reports that appeared in Indian media outlets, such as the Press Trust of India and the television network NDTV on this issue.

He said: “I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the Navy - some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier - in support of the president’s trip to Asia.”

He added: “That’s just comical. Nothing close to that is being done.”…

Indian media reports also say security for the presidential trip will cost 200 million dollars a day.

Morrell said: “There’s been a lot of creative writing that’s been done on this trip over the last few days. I’ve seen other reports with some astronomical figures in terms of what it costs to take these trips. I don’t know the cost. We don’t speak to the cost.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was blunt in his characterization of the cost reports, “this trip doesn’t cost 200 million dollars a day.”, a website devoted to myth busting, noted that even if the Indian press has correctly reported the size of the president’s entourage - 3,000 - the cost would work out to 66,000 dollars per person per day, “a figure that stretches credulity to the breaking point.” noted that the entire war in Afghanistan costs 190 million dollars a day.

Another media report that was trashed was one that said the White House had blocked off the entire Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai - it hasn’t.

It was also stated that the press team accompanying President Obama on his trip to India would be paying its own way, and not use U.S. taxpayer money.

What very likely true is that a total of 34 ships, perhaps the Indian Ocean fleet (is it the 6th?) has been tasked with direct support and prepared for contingencies.

Direct support is probably a few ships off the coast of where he will be, and perhaps one or two on the flight path. A carrier may be tasked for fighter support for Air Force One in spots where land-based fighters can’t get to. (ANI)

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