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Rediff.com  » News » Of the P-word, Michelle's wardrobe and verbal ping-pong

Of the P-word, Michelle's wardrobe and verbal ping-pong

November 07, 2010 15:39 IST

United States President Barack Obama has arrived in India for his longest State visit yet. Apart from our own coverage, we provide you a one-stop blog of what the world media is saying about the visit and its significance.

The Great American Hardware Store:

During the run-up to the President's visit, one question everyone was asking was how will this trip be branded in the two countries.

We have an answer in Obama's comments before leaving for Mumbai: At least how he portrayed the visit to Americans, immediately after a heavy defeat in the elections: Obama arrives in India eyeing jobs for America.

Noted journalist M J Akbar hits the nail on the head. An extended clip as this is not available online:

"Barack Obama comes to India on the night of Diwali not to enjoy a much-needed holiday after the woes of defeat, but to turn the Great American Hardware Store into a mall.

"He was buoyed on his long journey by some good news; the American economy had created about 150,000 extra jobs for the third month in succession. He used the opportunity to tell voters who had just humiliated him that his main purpose in visiting India was to bring back orders that would increase employment opportunity in America. "He made this speech on television, just in case anyone in India wanted to know.

"Obama is not landing in Mumbai because of an insatiable urge to visit sites of a terrorist attack launched from Pakistan, aided and abetted by some of the highest and mightiest in the land.

"The real reason for a day in Mumbai is not a chat with students, but photo opportunities of deals being signed with private sector companies. These pictures will be played back in America as witnesses of a President doing his job at the Taj in Mumbai, not posing with Michelle at the Taj Mahal in Agra."

The P-word:

As the president touches down in Mumbai, here is what the New York Times thinks what India thinks about what Obama thinks.

"Indians are still feeling anxious and insufficiently loved. The Indians seem conflicted. In recent news reports, some complained that Mr Obama has not shown India enough attention. Others worried about getting overly entangled with Washington."

The New York Times editorial also says that Obama must nudge New Delhi to work towards normalising relations with Pakistan and ask Pakistan to act against the perpetrators of 26/11.

Branding the visit:

Also on the idea behind the visit, from the Washington Post: 'Obama, in Mumbai, to announce reforms to boost U.S. trade with India'

"India's economy is projected to grow more than 8 percent next year, and U.S. exports have found an avid market in the country's relatively youthful middle class with a taste for American style. More than 60 percent of India's population is under 35 years old, a higher proportion than in some of the largest U.S. trading partners."

If the above reports leave you with any doubt, this, from the horse's mouth, seals how the visit will be branded in the US: 'Exporting our way to stability'.

A Mumbai family:

The Wall Street Journal profiles the family of a student who will participate in the town hall meeting at St. Xavier's.

"Mr Purohit drives an air-conditioned blue and white Maruti WagonR, known here as a 'cool cab,' which is a step above the traditional black and yellow taxis.

"If he could be inside St. Xavier's with his daughter, he says would ask President Obama to be tougher on Pakistan."

The view from Pakistan:

What's our blog without a dose of what the Pakistanis are saying? This is what their Foreign Office spokesperson had to say about the visit:

"President Obama will disappoint Pakistan if he fails to push India during his visit to resolve outstanding disputes with Pakistan, particularly the longstanding Kashmir issue."

Michelle's wardrobe:

We gave you an idea of what Michelle Obama would look like in Indian attire. And got a lot of flak for it. Here's the Wall Street Journal doing something not unlike what we did. You decide.

Verbal ping-pong

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been reported to have called Obama "the most arrogant man he has ever met" and said that talking to him was like playing "verbal hockey."

Quick Quiz: Which Indian politician does this remind you of?