The first stop on US President Barack Obama’s 10-day Asian tour is India and the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, the city attacked by terrorists two years ago.
The attack made headlines around the world. Some Indians wondered if the US and CIA could have done more to prevent it, especially since one of the attack’s planners may have been on the DEA’s payroll at the time, working to combat the Pakistani drugs trade.
Obama signed the victims’ memorial book at the hotel, a symbolic way to begin his visit and underline American solidarity with India.
“And ever since those horrific days two years ago, the Taj has been the symbol of the strength and resilience of the Indian people. So, yes, we visit here to send a very clear message that in our determination to give our people a future of security and prosperity, the USA and India stand united,” he said.
Security is tight as a drum for the trip, which is of utmost political and economic importance as India emerges as a serious counterweight to China, and a magnet for foreign investors. The US wants a share of this emerging market and Obama needs a pocketfull of contracts to take back to Washington to boost his standing at home after the midterm drubbing for his Democrats.
President Obama commemorates Mumbai attacks