In India, Obama to stay at site of terror attack

AP News
Posted: Oct 27, 2010 4:27 PM
In India, Obama to stay at site of terror attack

President Barack Obama's stay next week at the Indian hotel attacked by terrorists in 2008 is part of the White House's effort to show the U.S. commitment an important ally during his 10-day, four-country trip to Asia.

The 107-year-old Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai reopened for business in August, nearly two years after the siege that left 166 people dead across the city, including 31 at the hotel.

Obama will stay at the Taj on Nov. 6, his first night in India, and will discuss the attacks, the White House said Wednesday.

Obama's longest foreign trip as president also will take him to Indonesia, where he spent time as a boy; South Korea, host of this year's summit of major and emerging economic nations; and Japan, for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Obama plans meetings with foreign leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao. That get-together comes at a time of rising economic and trade friction with China. Obama's itinerary doesn't include a stop in China, which Obama visited last year.

"It's a not a coincidence, necessarily, that we're going to four Asian democracies on this trip," said Obama's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes. "We want to underscore the success of democracy in Asia and around the world."

By starting in India and devoting three full days there, Obama is seeking to promote a relationship with important ties to U.S. jobs and security.

The trip will follow right after the Nov. 2 elections that are expected to produce devastating results for Democrats. White House aides emphasized that Obama is not leaving U.S. concerns behind, and that U.S. jobs and the economy will be his focus throughout the trip.

White House aides tried to dismiss speculation that Obama is avoiding a well-known Indian temple so that he won't have to wear a head covering and perhaps add to misconceptions that he's a Muslim. Obama is Christian.

The president's advance team had reviewed the Golden Temple, a popular tourist stop in Amritsar, India. But it was dropped because Obama's schedule centers on Mumbai and New Delhi, aides said.


AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller contributed to this report.