Obamas dance with students at Indian festival

Obamas dance with students at Indian festival

US President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, joined celebrations to mark the Hindu festival of lights on Sunday by dancing with students in the city of Mumbai, DPA reported.

The Obamas began their official engagements at the Holy Name High School, where they were greeted by students wearing traditional dress.

The US President and the first lady lit a lamp to mark the Diwali festival celebrations and talked with children about their science and environment projects.

They then sat down to watch the children who performed semi- classical dances, followed by a traditional Koli folk-dance of local fisher people, the original inhabitants of Mumbai.

The cheering and clapping Obamas seemed to be drawn by the foot- tapping tunes and joined the children in the dance.

Michelle, wearing a check dress and a pink cardigan, matched the children step by step. Later, the children took Obama to the dance floor and the President joined in the fun, waving his arms and swinging along with the others.

Diwali, marked by days of celebrations, fell on Friday, a day before Obama began his three-day India visit.

On Saturday, Obama announced 10-billion-dollar business deals with India, which were expected to support more than 50,000 jobs in US. He also announced an easing of US export controls on high-technology items for India.

The US leader also visited the Taj Hotel, one of the targets of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that claimed 166 lives.

Obama said India and the United States were united against terrorism and resolved to strengthen the counter-terrorism cooperation between the countries.

Following his engagements in Mumbai, the US President was due to depart for the national capital, New Delhi, on Sunday afternoon.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will hold summit-level talks with Obama on Monday that will focus on the political aspects of the relationship, was to meet him at the airport.

Obama's India tour, the longest overseas visit of his presidency so far, has been aimed at pushing at creation of US jobs and export opportunities.

"India is a cornerstone of our broader Asia approach," said Ben Rhodes, US Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication.

This approach, Rhodes said, "is focused on again expanding exports for US goods, deepening partnerships in (an) important part of the world, partnering together in the G20 (group of leading economies) and other forums."

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