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Obama’s “Things to Do in India” Checklist

President Obama recently traveled to India to take care of a few things on his international relations checklist.  Though visiting your Nani didn’t make the cut, here are hot topics that did!

U.S. President Barack Obama with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. By RFE/RL
  1. Create Jobs at Home: With it’s growing economy, India is not a bad country to bank on. Searching for help half a world away, President Barack Obama embraced India as the next jobs-creating giant for hurting Americans. A serious economy, India is no longer looked at as the  cheap-labor rival that outsources opportunity from the United States.  By the end of his trip, Obama was promoting $10 billion in trade deals – completed in time for his visit – that the White House says will create about 54,000 jobs at home.
  2. Give India a Seat at the Table: Obama endorsed India’s bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.  The Security Council is the elite body responsible for maintaining international peace. India is part of the so-called Group of Four, with Germany, Japan and Brazil, that has been seeking permanent seats as major economic and political powers. Obama contends that the partnership between the U.S. and India could have defining impact on both countries and the world.
  3. Avoid Looking Muslim: It is alleged that President Obama skipped a trip to the Golden Temple, the holy shrine to millions of Sikhs, to avoid covering his head and being confused as “a Muslim”! A recent poll found that 20 percent of Americans still believe that Obama, a Christian, is actually Muslim.
  4. Dance Pe Chance: Not to be outdone by his wife, Obama was enticed to the dance floor by a group of schoolchildren. In an endearing attempt to perform a  traditional Indian Diwali dance, Obama became the star of another viral video showcasing his “dance moves.”
  5. Talk to Young People: The president spent almost two hours under a baking sun to talk to the next generation of leaders, college kids, about U.S.-India relations. The students grilled him — and drew some controversial remarks about Pakistan, where the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai were planned — but as they left several gave him high marks for his willingness to engage.
  6. Pay Homage to an Inspiration: Obama visited Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, to pay homage to the Father of the Nation.  Obama and First Lady Michelle placed wreaths on Gandhi’s ‘samadhi’.
  7. Dodge Monkeys: During President Obama’s visit to New Delhi, authorities tried to control something they called the “monkey menace.”  Tens of thousands of monkeys were overrunning huge areas of the city.  The main monkey invasion route was close to the hotel President Obama was staying in.
  8. Watch the Budget: From a 200 million dollar daily budget to using excessive military resources, rumors continue to fly that Obama’s trip to India was fit for King.

—NATASHA KHAN

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