M A I N   N E W S

Pays homage to Mumbai terror attack victims,
goes soft on Pak
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, November 6
The American President Barack Obama started his visit to India by paying homage to the victims of Mumbai terror attacks that took place on November 6, 2008. The President kicked off his engagements on the first leg of his tour at Taj Mahal hotel, which was one of the sites targeted by terrorists in 2008.

After meeting survivors of the terror attacks, including staff at Taj Hotel and families of victims, Obama, in a six-minute-long statement, expressed his solidarity with those affected by the incident. “There has been a great commentary on our decision to begin our visit here, in this dynamic city at this historic hotel. Those who have asked whether this is intended to send a message, my answer is simply, absolutely,” Obama said. “In our determination to give our people a future of security and prosperity, the United States and India stand united,” the president added.

However the US President stopped short of condemning the role of Pakistan in nurturing and abetting the terror attacks. Obama’s silence on India’s neighbour has drawn protests from the Opposition BJP and even sections of the Maharashtra Government though the voices from that quarter have been muted.

Obama, who was accompanied by his wife Michelle, signed the visitors’ book and was given a guided tour of the hotel. He wrote in the visitors’ book: “The United States stands in solidarity with all of Mumbai and India in working to eradicate the scourge of terrorism. We offer our lasting friendship to the Indian people.”

Obama then delivered a speech near the Tree of Life, a sculpture that was found undamaged at the end of the terror attacks and which the hotel has turned into a symbol of life and resurgence. “We will never forget the awful images of the 26/11 attacks, the flames from Taj Hotel that lit up the skies on those four days of November, 2008,” Obama said.

The President was also introduced to Taj staffers who survived the attack, including its manager Karambir Kang who lost his entire family in the incident. “Taj is a symbol of strength of Indian people.” said Obama.





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