M A I N   N E W S

Obama to address Indian Parliament
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, July 30
US President Barack Obama will address the Indian Parliament during his November visit, an honour that his predecessor George W Bush could not have. As per sources, President Obama would address MPs from both Houses at the Central Hall of Parliament on November 9. Due to this, the Winter Session might also have to be advanced.

A great admirer of India, especially Mahatma Gandhi, Obama has time and again stated that he was keenly looking forward to his visit to India, during which the First Lady would also travel with him.

Recently he had quoted an eminent European scholar, who travelled to India more than a century ago to say: “Whatever sphere of the human mind you may select for your special study, whether it be language or religion or mythology or philosophy, whether it be law or customs, primitive art, or science, you have to go to India because some of the most valuable and instructive material of the history of man are treasured up in India, and India only.’’

Obama’s predecessor George Bush, during his visit to India in March 2006, was also keen to address the Indian Parliament. However, the Left parties had threatened to boycott his speech in protest against the US military action in Iraq and the Indo-US nuclear deal, forcing the government to consider certain other venues for an address by the then US President.

While Indian officials wanted Bush’s address being held at the Vigyan Bhavan, Teen Murti Bhavan or the Jawaharlal Nehru Museum, the US side insisted on it being organised at the legendary ‘Purana Qila’ to give an ‘Indian touch’ to the ambiance of his speech. Amid an unprecedented security, Bush eventually addressed Indian lawmakers, business people and power elite from the ramparts of the 16th century monument. Bush’s predecessor Bill Clinton, however, did get an opportunity to address the Indian lawmakers at a joint sitting during his visit in 2000.

Other world leaders, who have addressed the Indian Parliament in recent years are: Vladimir Putin, when he was the Russian President, and Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister in 2007. Usually the honour of addressing the Indian Parliament is accorded to a head of state, but it was bestowed on the Japanese PM since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been invited to speak before the Japanese Diet (Parliament) during his visit to Tokyo.





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