President Barack Obama will visit India from 6-9 November 2010 on the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Obama’s trip is estimated to cost a mind-boggling $200 million per day. His entourage will include 3,000 people flown in by a fleet of 40 aircraft.
President Obama will be protected by a fleet of 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier, which will patrol the sea lanes off the Mumbai coast during his stay in India.
In the areas where Obama visits, all coconuts will be stripped from the trees (so they don’t fall on him), and the beggars and homeless will be “relocated.”
The cost of this trip is 1,000 times more expensive, on a daily basis, than the imperial vacation of First Lady Michelle Obama to Spain.
Never before has any US President, King, or Imperial Potentate spent more money on a trip. The poor old King of Saudi Arabia has just one lone Boeing 747.
On his imperial trip, President Obama will be accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama, and a high-level delegation including his National Security Adviser Tom Donillon; Timothy Geithner, Secretary of Treasury; Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce; Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture; Rajiv Shah Administrator of USAID, and a cast of thousands. (Rajiv Shah, as we have written before, is a major proponent of outsourcing American computer jobs.)
The majority of the White House staff will accompany President Obama to India, including several cooks, his personal valet, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s wardrobe, hair and makeup crew, and staff.
A large business and media delegation are also accompanying President Obama. They are not figured in the $200 million per day cost, as they must pay their own way, with a few exceptions, of course.
President Obama and his entourage will reach Mumbai, India on the morning of November 6th.
Obama will then fly by helicopter—Marine One—from the city airport to the Indian Navy’s helibase INS Shikra at Colaba in south Mumbai.
Two jets, armed with advanced communication and security systems, and a fleet of over 40 cars will be part of Obama’s convoy. A sophisticated communications set-up and the nuclear button will accompany President Obama.
Around 800 rooms have been booked for the President and his entourage in Taj Hotel and Hyatt.
The President will have a security ring of American elite Secret Service, which are tasked to guard the President, along with National Security Guards (NSG) and personnel from central paramilitary forces and local police in Mumbai and Delhi.
Similar arrangements will be in place in Delhi, with the Air Force One to be kept in all readiness fully staffed throughout Obama’s stay here from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday morning.
India’s airspace will be closed half-an-hour before the President’s arrival for all aircraft with the exception the fleet of aircraft carrying President Obama and his entourage.
The area from Hotel Taj, where Obama and his wife Michelle will stay, to Shikra helipad in Colaba will be cordoned off completely during the movement of the President.
Maurya Hotel, where the President will stay, has already been swarmed over by American security personnel and protective measures have been put in place.
Paramilitary security drills have already been carried out at the hotel as well as Rajghat, where he will visit.
Sources said 13 heavy-lift aircraft with high-tech equipment, three helicopters and 500 US security personnel have arrived in India ahead of Obama’s visit.
The US security has also brought interception and obstruction devices, sniffer dogs, and rescue equipment.
Apart from Obama’s Air Force One, a few private luxury jets carrying top American corporate leaders, who are part of Obama’s entourage, are also expected to arrive in India.
All high-rise buildings in the vicinity of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel and Delhi’s Maurya Sheraton hotel, where President Obama will stay, are being sanitized of Indian germs and security personnel will be positioned on rooftops to prevent any air-borne attack.
The Ridge area—opposite Delhi’s Maurya Sheraton hotel—has been illuminated by floodlights as part of the heightened security drill. Night will turn into day.
President Obama will begin his program by paying homage to the victims of the terrorist attack in Mumbai, visit Mani Bhavan to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi, and bestow his presence on a Business Summit organized by the US India Business Council.
The next day, on November 7th, President Obama will address a ‘Town Hall’ meeting and associated events at the St Xavier’s College, and celebrate the sacred Hindu holiday of Diwali at a Primary School.
President Obama and his entourage will then depart for Delhi. There he will pay homage to the tomb of India’s Moslem Mughal Emperor Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun. That evening President will be the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by the Indian Prime Minister and his wife Gursharan Kaur.
These minor tasks out of the way, the “official” component of President Obama’s visit is on November 8th beginning with the ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the enormous residence of the President of India. This will be followed by a visit to Raj Ghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.
President Obama and the Indian Prime Minister will hold a Summit level meeting in the afternoon to discuss “bilateral, regional and global developments of mutual concern.”
This will be followed by a meeting of the India-US CEO Forum.
This will be followed by a visit to President Obama by the glamorous Italian-born Indian Vice President, Sonia Gandhi.
In the evening President Obama will address a joint session of both houses of India’s Parliament. Obama’s official program concludes with a meeting with India’s President, and a State Dinner for him and the First Lady at the massive Rashtrapati Bhavan palace.
After a long night’s rest, President Obama and his full entourage will leave Delhi departing for Indonesia in the afternoon of November 9th.
President Obama’s enormous entourage and expense for this trip is worthy of an Emperor, but certainly not worthy of the President of the United States, especially during the current economic crisis.