Obama begins day of talks in India with ceremonial reception
The India-US partnership is one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century, US President Barack Obama said Monday after a ceremonial reception in the Indian capital, dpa reported.
Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were due to hold talks later in the day on such issues as commerce, counterterrorism, Afghanistan and UN reforms.
The US president, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama and a large delegation of officials and business leaders, arrived in India Saturday on a four-day trip, the longest made by Obama as president to another country.
"In the course of our discussions with the prime minister, the president and other Indian leaders, we hope to continue to build on the commercial ties we already have and strengthen cooperation on bilateral and international economic issues," Obama said after the reception.
The two sides would also discuss strengthening counterterrorism cooperation and build on people-to-people contacts, Obama said.
One of Obama's first engagements in India was a speech to commemorate the victims of the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, the president's first stop in India.
Obama's visit was expected to give fresh impetus to the strategic and economic partnership between India and the United States, diplomats from both sides have said.
After the guard of honour at the ceremonial reception in the forecourt of the presidential palace, Obama was scheduled Monday to visit a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.
Besides talks with the Indian premier, Obama is to have discussions with India's leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj and ruling Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi.
Indian President Pratibha Patil is to hold a banquet in his honour in the evening.
Obama stays overnight in New Delhi before flying to Indonesia on the next leg of his four-nation Asia tour, which will also take him to South Korea and Japan.