Millennium Post

India to ensure that Obama cherishes his visit for a long time

Obama has been invited to grace the Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest which will be a first for an American President. He will be accompanied by his wife Michelle Obama and a team of senior officials.

"We will do everything that is possible to ensure his stay here is comfortable, is something that he will cherish for a long, long time," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

He was replying to a volley of questions about preparations for the high-profile visit. "When we finalise the programme, we will inform you."

It will be Obama's second visit to India. His first visit was in November 2010.

Asked whether the US side had requested for a "no-fly zone" around Rajpath during the Republic Day parade, the Spokesperson termed the report as "kite-flying".

A seven-layer security ring will be thrown around the VVIP enclosure on Rajpath for the Republic Day parade.

"President Obama is an honoured guest in India. We will do everything that ensures his convenience," the Spokesperson said.

Replying to a separate question, the Spokesperson said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj intends to visit China in the first week of next month.

He said German Chancellor Angela Merkel may visit India later this year to participate in the biennial meeting of the heads of government of both India and Germany.

Asked about report of notice by the Enforcement Directorate to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for purchase of a property, the Spokesperson called it a minor issue. "..It is a normal routine thing."
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