Honoured to be in India for Republic Day, says Barack Obama

‘This trip reflects President Obama's commitment to deepen our ties with India’

New Delhi: US President Barack Obama on Sunday said that he was 'honoured' to visit India again, adding that he was looking forward to participate in the Republic Day celebrations.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama landed in New Delhi for their three-day visit of India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was at the Air Force Station at Palam to greet the visiting dignitaries. The three shared pleasantries before President Obama sat in his presidential vehicle 'The Beast' and left for his hotel ITC Maurya.

Obama was accorded a grand 21-gun salute ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Wing Commander Pooja Thakur of the Indian Air Force led the Guard of Honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan for the US President, earlier in the day.

Soon after he visited the Rajghat to pay floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. After paying his tribute, Obama also planted a sapling at Rajghat.

The official twitter handle of President Obama's National Security Council (NSC) shared the visiting dignitary's excitement.

"President Obama is honored to be back in #India to celebrate Republic Day and to begin a new chapter in the US-India partnership. Jai Hind!" it tweeted.

"This trip reflects President Obama's commitment to deepen our ties with #India and take our partnership to a new level," it added.

The others who were present to greet President Obama at the airport included Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal and Indian Ambassador to the US, S Jaishankar, among others.

President Obama has been accompanied by a sizable delegation of top leaders on his trip to India, including Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, among others.

President Obama, who is the chief guest of this year's Republic Day parade, will be the first US president to attend the Republic Day celebrations. Obama, who visited India in 2010, will also be the first US president to visit the country twice while in office.

( Source : dc with agency inputs )
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