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Obama's daughters miss out on India trip due to school

October 29, 2010 00:12 IST

While First Lady Michelle will accompany Barack Obama during his India trip, school will prevent their daughters Sasha and Malia from visiting the country along with their parents.

During the visit Michelle Obama will attend a number of events independently besides accompanying Obama to the Diwali celebrations in Mumbai and to cultural stops like Humayun's tomb.

"The First Lady is going to be with the President... let me just add, too, because I know that there's different reports in the Indian press," Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication, Ben Rhodes, told reporters at a special White House briefing on India.

"The children, Sasha and Malia, are not coming. It's during their school year, of course," he said. Rhodes said the First Lady will be attending events targeted towards empowerment of women, education and children. "She is accompanying the President to a number of his events, such as, again, the Mumbai town hall, the Diwali celebration (in Mumbai)... and so the cultural stops (in New Delhi – the Humayun Tomb).

"She'll be with him for certain things, but we expect her to do a couple of independent events. We expect that they'll be related to education and the empowerment of women and girls," Rhodes said. Michelle would accompany Obama only on the first two legs of his Asia trip – India and Indonesia -- before peeling off from the rest of the trip.

Rhodes said the first couple would miss out on visiting the Taj Mahal this time, but hopefully they would get an opportunity in the future. "He (Obama) loves to see the Taj Mahal... he could at some point. Hopefully he would have the opportunity to return (to India) as well," Rhodes said, adding that the First Lady is travelling because she wanted to see India. He said the first couple, however, would be visiting the Humayan's tomb, which is is one of the great cultural marvels in New Delhi as the visit is a fitting tribute to the rich civilisation of India.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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