“Senorita, bade bade deshon me..”, No ,No ,I am not writing a critical review of the iconic Bollywood movie DDLJ but I am writing the words of US President Barack Obama during his India visit as the chief guest on its Republic Day. For those interested in facts, Yes, he is the first US President to recite a dialogue from a Hindi movie…the Bollywood pundits would be really happy with Obama now!
President Obama arrived in his private aircraft Air Force One along with First Lady Michelle Obama and his huge contingent of 1600 US security men and his K-9 unit of 75 dogs .These dogs are actually given the rank of officers in US-I guess Maneka Gandhi and PETA would be happy to note that! Being welcomed by PM Narendra Modi , Obama also displayed his gratitude by giving him a hug .This definitely speaks of a never –seen –before proximity in Indo-US relations which was even evident when the two leaders had a session over tea-‘chai ki charcha’ in the sprawling lawns of Hyderabad House. That Mr. Modi calls US President by his first name Barack and sleeps 1 hour less than him took more media bytes than the deals which the two signed. Well Nice!!
The most significant achievement of their talks was the progress made in military and defence cooperation. Announcement of various joint projects and the progress in nuclear deal alarmed the Dragon-China who is competing in India to be a superpower. The renewal of the 10-year framework for the US-India defence relationship and positive talks between the business leaders of two countries represents the success of Obama’s visit which had its own share of pomp and show.
Entire Delhi was turned into a fortress with 45000 policemen and 15000 CCTV cameras. We, Delhiites could just wish that Mr.Obama keeps visiting India so that we could feel safe in Delhi which has earned the reputation of being the crime capital. Another thing grabbing headlines was the absence of First Lady Michelle Obama in most of the events- maybe she felt her hotel was safer than the Delhi streets for women. Mr. Obama also went to Rajghat to remember Mahatma Gandhi and also attended the ceremonial dinner by the Indian President Dr. Pranab Mukherjee and got to taste various Indian cuisine like Mutton Rogan Josh and Galotti Kebab to name a few.
On the 26th of January i.e. our Republic Day Mr. Obama sat through the entire parade at Rajpath for over 2 hours even in midst of light rainfall-thus making it the first time when US president was in open for two hours-even in the extremely polluted air of Delhi. But it was his day of creating new records- whether it’s his chewing up a gum during the parade or tuning up in his own car ‘The Beast’ instead of Indian President’s car. Crowd for the republic day which was standing in light rain seemed a bit too excited on seeing Beast and even tried to take some selfies- just to change their Facebook pictures I guess!! Everyone admired the humility of Mr. Obama who seemed to be enthralled by seeing Indian culture and especially the bike stunts by BSF, giving them a thumbs-up.
Next day in his speech, at Siri Fort auditorium, Mr. Obama cautioned India against religious conversions and wished for India’s cooperation in taking Indo-US ties to a new level. In all, it was a successful visit of US President and yes it was a national visit and not for BJP’s campaign in Delhi as referred to by Kiran Bedi-BJP’s CM candidate for Delhi Assembly elections!! I hope we can learn from the simplicity of Mr. Obama who is first black president of US and take his advice to succeed as a secular country both in our thought and actions. I can just say- “YES WE CAN!!”