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US isn't spending $ 200 mn on Obama visit, says aide

November 05, 2010 20:21 IST

Dismissing reports that around US $ 200 million per day is being spent by the US on the India visit of its President Barack Obama later this week, the White House has that such news reports lack credence.

"We don't know where these reports are coming from. They seem to be wildly inflated in terms of the costs. I'm not going to get into the cost issues, but certainly I wouldn't pay a lot of credence to that," said Mike Hammer, spokesman of the National Security Council, White House.

Hammer briefed foreign correspondents on the eve of Obama's departure to his four-nation Asia trip beginning with India. A top official of the Maharashtra government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit was quoted as saying that a whopping US $ 200 million (Rs 900 crore approx) per day would be spent by various teams coming from the US in connection with Obama's two-day

stay in Mumbai.

"A huge amount of around USD 200 million would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit," the official said in Mumbai.

About 3,000 people including Secret Service agents, US government officials and journalists would accompany thePresident. Several officials from the White House and US security agencies are already in Mumbai for the past one week with helicopters, a ship and high-end security instruments.

Unprecedented security has been put in place both in Mumbai and New Delhi. Several Republican lawmakers had criticized the Obama Administration for such massive over spending in India. "We have never seen this sort of an entourage going with the president before. And I think this is an example the massive overspending that we've seen--not only just in the last two years, really in the last four," said Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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