Probably not since the days of the Pharaohs or the more ludicrous Roman Emperors has a head of state travelled in such pomp and expensive grandeur as the President of the United States of America. While lesser mortals — the Pope, Queen Elizabeth and so on — are usually happy to let their hosts handle most of the security and transport arrangements when they venture beyond their home shores, the United States creates a mini-America on the move to ensure that nothing is left to chance.
The President and First Lady clasped hands as they arrived in Mumbai Saturday morning with their huge entourage. The red carpet was literally rolled out for the President and First Lady when their jumbo jet landed.
Obama arrives in India at the start of a ten-day tour of Asia. But an outlandish car is only the start. Mr Obama will fly, of course, on Air Force One, the presidential private jumbo jet, which, boasting double beds and suites, is fitted out more like a luxury yacht. Of course threats can come from any direction, so a squadron of U. He will also travel with 30 elite sniffer dogs, mostly German Shepherds. It is not uncommon for the grander heads of state to reserve a floor or two, but a whole hotel is unprecedented. This hotel was the main target of the attacks by Pakistani militants which left dead.
Whatever the figure, it makes the costs associated with the Royal Train and the late Royal Yacht Britannia seem like small change. It is also reported that a bomb-proof tunnel will be erected for Mr Obama ahead of his visit to Mani Bhavan - the Gandhi museum - on Saturday. They were accompanied by Mumbai Police officers and civic officials of the D ward where Mani Bhavan is located. While they were inspecting the route and the buildings lining the path to the museum, U.
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To the amazement of the Indians accompanying the U. The kilometre-long tunnel will measure 12ft by 12ft and will have air-conditioning, close-circuit television cameras, and will be heavily guarded at every point. It's being built so it is large enough for Mr Obama's cavalcade to pass through and will be manned at its entry and exit points. Security measures: A kilometer long bomb-proof tunnel will reportedly be erected on the route to Mani Bhavan - the Gandhi Museum - ahead of President Obama's tour of the building on Saturday.
The material that the tunnel would be made of has not been released but officials said that the structure would be dismantled immediately after Mr Obama and his party leaves the area. The claim was immediately seized upon by talk show hosts and rights wing politicians who relished the opportunity to rub salt into Mr Obama's wounds saying the trip was a waste of government funds during the country's recession.
But the White House have refused to reveal the true cost of the three-day trip to Mumbai and Delhi. US security department officials stand near their vehicles outside the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai this afternoon. He added: 'Due to security concerns, we are unable to outline details associated with security procedures and costs, but it's safe to say these numbers are wildly inflated'. The White House have said these claims are exaggerated but with any presidential trip, Mr Obama travels with a large number of staff and security detail includes his own aircraft and fleet of secure vehicles.
There will also be tens of thousands of Indian police and members of the military protecting the US delegation.
Secret Service agents travelled to India last week to address security concerns at locations the president is likely to visit. Indian policemen await deployment orders outside the Taj Mahal hotel. President Obama is scheduled to stay at the hotel this weekend. Tense: An Indian policeman guards the Chhatrapati Shivaji train station in Mumbai, one of the targets of Islamist militants during the attacks.
The trip has sparked some criticism in the U. Mr Obama will spend three days in India, and will also visit New Delhi. Mr Obama is bringing U. India Business Council says is the largest such delegation to ever accompany a president on a foreign visit. The presidents of six universities, including Georgetown and Duke, are also set to come. India Business Council. A man walks with a camel past a sand sculpture depicting President Barack Obama ahead of Obama's arrival to the country, in Puri.
But sentiment has frayed since the two countries signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement in Then-President George W. Bush pushed through that deal, which allowed nuclear trade with India despite its weapons programme and seemed to herald a new era of cross-continental commerce. It hasn't been that simple.
The job creating power of India's big, fast-growing market is hampered by its restrictions on foreign access to key sectors like retail, finance, education and insurance. Multinationals are wary of the shape-shifting rules that seem to govern things like taxes and environmental permits in India. And the large defence contracts that headline the wish list of deals for Obama's visit come burdened with offsets and foreign investment caps. Preparations: A billboard welcoming Mr Obama is seen in Mumbai.
The U. President will hope to cement improving relations with India during his three-day visit. The Americans who accepted outsourcing of IT and back office functions in boom times as a way to free up capital for job creation at home seem less certain of the strategy's benefits during a bust.
With U. Indian companies keep insisting, quietly, that they're not really the problem: If you don't like jobs getting sent overseas, better to direct your anger at major U. It reduces costs. It gives them access to a scalable high quality.
That's why it's growing. Unwelcome: Some Indian Shiite Muslims are unhappy about Mr Obama's trip and held an effigy of him before setting it on fire as they gather for a protest after Friday prayers outside a mosque in Lucknow, India today. The law pinches Indian outsourcers where it hurts, at the heart of the industry's hopes for future growth in its most important global market. The companies have been trying to diversify into health care and government work and move up the delivery chain to higher value areas like consulting.
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All require workers, with visas or U. Many here fear the backlash will get worse by the elections, barring a turnaround in the U. Indian outsourcers - and their clients in corporate America - are happy to move jobs to the U. Mahesh Gupta, centre left, holds a portrait of U. President Barack Obama which he claims to have made from his blood to welcome him. Permanent record: Guinness Rishi, who has more than flags tattooed on his body, had Mr Obama inked on his side the day the President arrived in India oddly, it looks more like former president Jimmy Carter.
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