Obama to address students at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai


Mumbai: US President Barack Obama is likely to land in Mumbai around noon Saturday and drive straight down to the Taj Mahal Hotel by the new Bandra-Worli sealink, officials said Tuesday. However, the US president could even be taken to the hotel in a chopper.

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On his itinerary is also an address to a select few students from various colleges of Mumbai at the St. Xavier’s College premises in south Mumbai.

President Obama is likely to be welcomed by a host of dignitaries, US citizens in Mumbai and others after he lands at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Saturday.

From there he is expected to zoom downtown via the Rajiv Gandhi Bandra-Worli SeaLink to the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel at Colaba, opposite the Gateway of India.

However, options are being kept open for him to take a quick chopper ride to south Mumbai, though government and police are unwilling to go on record.

Shortly after checking in at the hotel, Obama will give his opening remarks in which he is likely to touch upon the Nov 26-29, 2008, Mumbai terror attacks when the Taj was a major target of the terrorists.

He is later to drive down to the historic Mani Bhavan, the museum of Mahatma Gandhi’s memorabilia, located in the quiet bylanes of Gamdevi, around 5 km north of the Taj.

After that Obama will go over to Hotel Trident Oberoi, for a meeting with the captains of Indian and US industry, top businessmen and corporate honchos from the two countries and address the US-India Business Council Summit in the evening.

Hotel Trident Oberoi was also one of the sites targeted during the 26/11 terror attacks.

Sunday will be a relatively light day for Obama in Mumbai, when he will celebrate Diwali with schoolchildren and youths at a venue in south Mumbai. He is to address a gathering of select student from different city colleges at the St. Xavier’s College.

During the entire trip, Obama’s engagements would be centred within a five-km radius from the Taj.

As per the official programme announced Tuesday, besides the expected tribute to the 26/11 martyrs, Obama will not visit any of the other sites targeted during the terror attacks, which, incidentally, fall in a five-km radius.

Sunday afternoon, he will take off for New Delhi for the remainder of his Nov 6-9 India visit, including private dinner with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Nov 7 and official talks and address to parliament Nov 8.