The Obamas were greeted warmly by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who in a significant gesture welcomed the U.S. President and first lady at the airport, with his wife Gursharan Kaur.
U.S. President Barack Obama today arrived here on the second leg of his three-day visit to India and was personally received by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who set aside protocol to welcome the guest.
The Air Force One carrying Mr. Obama, his wife Michelle and the official delegation touched down at the Delhi Airport at 3.19 PM and the President and the First Lady waved their hands while getting down from the aircraft.
Soon after alighting from the aircraft, Mr. Obama hugged Dr. Singh after shaking hands with him and greeted his wife Gursharan Kaur with a peck on her cheek. Ms. Michelle greeted Dr. Singh and Ms. Kaur the same way.
The couples were seen chatting for a few minutes before the visiting dignitaries were introduced to officials in the reception line including Minister-in-Waiting Salman Khursheed, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Meera Shankar.
Dr. Singh’s receiving the Obamas is a special gesture signifying the importance India attaches to the U.S. President’s maiden visit. Mr. Obama said specific announcements on issues like counter-terrorism, regional security and clean energy are likely after talks between the two leaders tomorrow.
Dr. Singh had received Mr. Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush at the airport when he visited India in 2006. The Prime Minister had also gone to the airport to personally receive Saudi Arabia King Abdullah.
Mr. Obama, who arrived in Mumbai yesterday afternoon, paid tributes to the victims of the 2008 Mumbai carnage and said his stay at the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel, one of the targets of the Mumbai terror strikes, was intended to send a strong message against terrorism.
Before embarking for Delhi, Mr. Obama and Ms. Michelle celebrated Diwali with children at the Holy Name School in Colaba and then interacted with students at the St. Xavier’s College in a typical U.S. townhall style.