Bands played soft music at grand 'private dinner' for Obama
New Delhi, Nov 7- With camel-mounted bands on either side and another playing on the terrace, what was initially billed as an intimate "private dinner" for about 20 people by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur for US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle turned into a grand affair that was described by about 60 Indian and about ten American guests as "outstanding" and "magnificent".
The dinner, on the lush front lawns of the prime ministerial residence at 7 Race Course Road, was held under a semi-open marquee that, along with the music-filled atmosphere and lights, made it, in the words of a guest, a setting "straight out of the Arabian Nights".
The bands were drawn from the Border Security Force and the Indian Navy. They played soft non-intrusive music that complimented the perfect weather and the glittering ambience.
Among those present were Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, senior politicians L.K. Advani and Arun Jaitley, Bollywood veterans Shabana Azmi her husband Javed Akhtar and Aamir Khan, besides Priya Dutt and Meenakshi Natarajan, both MPs.
Also present were cabinet ministers Pranab Mukherjee, P. Chidambaram, A.K. Antony, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal and S.M. Krishna and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. So were bureaucrats National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, Manmohan Singh's Principal Secretary T.K.A. Nair, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and India's ambassador to US Meera Shankar.
Others to get the invite were corporate bigwigs Azim Premji, Ratan Tata, Swati Piramal and N.R. Narayana Murthy, environmental scientist Sunita Narain and and Jamia Millia Islamia vice chancellor Najeeb Jung.
From the American side were National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, US ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer and Rajiv Shah, administrator of USAID.
Before the dinner, that was catered by ITC Maurya's signature restaurants Bukhara and Dum Pukht and included both non-vegetarian and vegetarian fare representing the best of Indian cuisine, Manmohan Singh and Obama met separately, followed by a meeting between their families that included the prime minister's daughters and a son-in-law.
Sam Pitroda, the prime minister's adviser on technology, told IANS the setting was "unbelievable" and "done with class and thought". He said the Americans, including the Obamas, loved every moment of with some in their group overheard as saying "we could learn much from the Indians how to organise such things".
Each table was named after leading Indian Americans or Americans who either had a love for India or had worked in India.
Obama hosted the first state dinner of his presidency in honour of Manmohan Singh under a sprawling white tent on the lawns of the White House in November last year that brought together the Who's Who of Washington and the Indian American community and made it the most talked about social event for months in the American capital.
Obama platter for India: High-tech exports, n-clubs, Kabul role
By Manish Chand
New Delhi, Nov 7: The US is set to convey its commitment to the easing of high-tech exports to India, support New Delhi's membership of premier nuclear clubs and back a bigger role for the country in global affairs, specially in East Asia, when US President Barack Obama holds talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday.
Much to the disappointment of many in India, Obama is, however, unlikely to announce explicit and unequivocal support for New Delhi's claim for a permanent seat in the expanded UN Security Council. At best, he is expected to announce a bigger role for India in the UN and in the international system.
"He will come closer to supporting India for a permanent seat, but will stop short of declaring it explicitly," Lalit Mansingh, India's former ambassador to the US, told IANS.
On high tech exports, there will be a positive movement, with Indian officials expecting the US to express its intention to reform the export control laws in the India-US joint statement that is expected after the Obama-Manmohan Singh talks.
In an interaction with business honchos in Mumbai, Obama has already signalled that he is serious about removing "unwanted restrictions" that stand in the way of trade between the two countries.
The removal of three Indian entities on the US export black list, including the Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO), Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Bharat Dynamics Limited, is likely to be announced. However, Washington will not go the whole hog and discussions are likely to continue for easing restrictions on facilities related to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) like the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
The US decision to support India for full membership of the top four nuclear clubs, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australian Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement is expected to be reflected in the joint statement, informed sources said.
This should cheer India's strategic establishment that has battled for years for the end of technology denial regimes targeted against New Delhi.
As the business of Obama's India mission is business and outsourcing continuing to be a sore issue, there would be a reference to both countries expressing their commitment to lowering barriers to trade and investment and increased cooperation on global economic issues in global fora like the G20.
On regional and global issues, sources revealed that India is expecting a reference to terror groups active in the region in the joint statement and India and the US joining hands to combat terrorism, which Obama had flagged off in his speech before 26/11 victims in Mumbai Saturday.
There could be a reference to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based terror group which was earlier focused on India and is said to be the principal architect of the Mumbai carnage, but which has now expanded the scope of its jihad to include the US and the West, sources said.
The formulation of Pakistan in the joint statement is still being debated between officials of the two sides. But what is certain is a forceful reiteration of the strengthening of counter-terror cooperation and the US working with India to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror to justice.
The joint statement would acknowledge India's role in Afghanistan and some proposals for joint work on developmental projects in that conflict-battered country.
There will be a message for Beijing also, which is closely watching Obama's visit to India. Much to the chagrin of Beijing, there will be a reference to India's bigger role in East Asia, which Beijing is prone to see as its backyard, and collaboration in developmental projects in Africa where the Chinese surge has evoked anxieties about resource exploitation
Manmohan gets Obama hug, stage set for talks (Lead)
New Delhi, Nov 7: US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in New Delhi Sunday afternoon on the second leg of their four-day India visit to a warm reception by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur.
Obama gave the prime minister a warm hug as he alighted. Michelle Obama, dressed in a powder blue ensemble, followed with a peck on the cheek for Manmohan Singh. Obama also gave a peck to Gursharan Kaur.
The chemistry was evident as the two leaders chatted amicably at the Air Force station at Palam. They continued to talk for several minutes as Manmohan Singh saw Obama to his stretch limousine.
The friendship between the Obamas and the Singhs was evident as both Gursharan Kaur and Michelle Obama firmly clasped hands as they walked the red carpet.
It's not often that the prime minister deviates from protocol to receive visiting foreign leaders at the airport, but Manmohan Singh decided to personally welcome Obama given his special admiration for the man. In the last six years, he had done this in 2006 only for then US president George Bush with whom he struck a landmark nuclear deal and Saudi monarch King Abdullah.
Corporate and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed, minister-in-waiting who will attend on Obama during his visit to India, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, India's Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar and senior officials of the external affairs ministry dealing with the US were also present at the airport. US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer and senior officials of the US embassy also greeted Obama.
Accompanied by the US envoy, Obama headed to Roosevelt House, the residence of the US ambassador, to interact with the US embassy staff.
He will visit Humayun's Tomb before going to the prime minister's residence for a private dinner. Manmohan Singh and Obama are set to spend at least half-an-hour alone discussing critical issues before joining select guests at the dinner.
The one-on-one conversation between the two leaders is going to set the stage for formal talks Monday that are expected to unveil a template for the 21st century partnership between the world's largest democracies.
This will be be the sixth meeting between the two leaders since Obama became president two years ago.
In Mumbai, where Obama spent 24 hours, he interacted and danced with students, unveiled $10 billion-worth of business deals with India and signalled the easing of high-tech exports.
During an interaction with students at St. Xavier's College in Mumbai, Obama also flagged two key themes that will figure during the talks: Pakistan and Afghanistan. Admitting that Islamabad's progress in terrorism was not quick enough, he said India has the biggest stake in a stable and prosperous Pakistan. He also lauded New Delhi's role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Obama answers some 'tough questions', swings through Mumbai (Roundup)
Mumbai, Nov 7- Fielding questions from students on issues ranging from Pakistan to jehad, establishing an e-connect with farmers and breaking into an impromptu jig, US President Barack Obama got into the groove in more ways than one as he ended the first leg of his India visit here before heading for New Delhi Sunday afternoon.
The morning, devoted to meeting farmers and students, was expected to throw up colour and some non-political content. But it also turned out to be one for important policy statements on global issues as Obama took on a host of sharp questions from eager students at the St Xavier's College here.
The focus on Saturday was the sombre anti-terror statement from the Taj hotel, ground zero of the 26/11 attack, and the visit to the Gandhi museum. The mood was quite different Sunday when the Obamas visited a school to celebrate Diwali and met up with students at St Xavier's.
Exhorted by the first lady Michelle Obama to ask "tough questions", the students drawn from six Mumbai colleges did just that as they asked the US president his views on jehad, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the road ahead after the electoral rout.
India has "the biggest stake" in a successful and stable Pakistan, Obama said from the packed forecourt of the college with its Indo-Gothic architecture as he answered a question on the prickly issue of Pakistan.
He asserted that it was in India's interest to remove the "distraction" of insecurity in the region when it was moving ahead on the global economic stage.
"Obviously the history between India and Pakistan is incredibly complex and born out of much tragedy and violence. It may be surprising, but I am absolutely convinced that the country which has the biggest stake in Pakistan's success is India," Obama, who was criticised by some in India for not mentioning Pakistan's terror link in his opening address at the Taj Hotel, said.
He also spoke of the need to "give space and time for Afghan security forces to develop" and reiterated that the US would begin reducing troop levels starting July 2011. "But we will not be removing all our troops."
On Islam and jehad, he said: "Well, the phrase jehad has a lot of meanings within Islam. It is subject to lot of different interpretations. But I will say that first Islam is one of the world's great religions and over a billion people practice Islam."
The president, who also reiterated how Mahatma Gandhi continues to inspire him in his s day to day life, said he did not consider India a rising power but one that had already "risen".
"The common thread that runs is my determination to take partnership (between the two countries) to an entirely new level. We believe that India has already risen."
In remarks that may be seen as a subtle critique of India's policy towards Myanmar, Obama also said: "There are elections that are being held right now in Burma, that will be anything but free and fair."
Wife Michelle Obama had earlier candidly spoken to the students about her growing up years and how her family didn't "have a lot of money".
"My parents worked hard... My parents couldn't give us material things," she said eloquently. But "they taught us that our circumstances didn't define us", the wife of the US' first African American president said.
Before addressing the students, the president interacted with farmers from Ajmer through a video-conference link to understand how India was seeking to bridge the digital divide by reaching technology and services to the grassroots level.
Stating that he wanted to have a glimpse of the IT revolution in rural India, Obama said: "Many of these innovations are because of public and private collaborations between the US and India."
If the statements struck the right notes, the first couple did so too on a day that had gotten off to a swinging start with the Obamas shaking a leg with children at the Holy Name School.
The couple - the president in shirtsleeves and the first lady in a black and white dress with a hot pink shrug that was replaced by a more formal jacket at St Xavier's - moved around, shaking hands with the children and stopping to exchange some words.
The dance performances over, Michelle Obama joined the children on the floor, swinging to the beat of a traditional Koli fisherfolk song, quickly catching on as the steps were taught to her. The president was not too far behind and happily got up to join the fun, waving his arms and swinging along with the rest.
It was the Kodak moment for the two-day Mumbai trip, the first leg of the India visit that ends Tuesday when the Obamas leave for Indonesia.
Obamas find Humayun's Tomb spectacular (Second Lead)
New Delhi, Nov 7- The US first couple spent half an hour strolling around Humayun's Tomb, admiring the grandeur of the 16th century World Heritage site monument, which they described as 'spectacular' and the Indian capital as a "modern place rooted in civilization".
Later, the Obamas, in a personal touch, interacted with the children of labourers involved in the upkeep of the monument and even gave them gifts.
Writing in the visitor's book, Barack and Michelle Obama said: "Through the rise and fall of empires, Indian civilization has endured and led the world to new heights of achievement. The world owes a profound debt to India and its people."
An ASI official escorted the US first couple on a guided tour of the monument.
Commenting to reporters on the workmanship of the structure, Obama said: "It took seven years to build this (monument). If you try to build something like this in seven years in the US, it will be tough."
The Obamas had a 10 minute tete-a-tete with a group of 14 children from a school run by the ASI.
"They said we should work hard and study more," said Vishal, the eldest of the 14 children present at Humayun's Tomb during the visit.
All the children were in their school uniform, grey shorts and red-striped shirt. Vishal had a special gift for the Obamas - a welcome message written by him on a slate: ‘Welcome to His Excellency US President Barack Obama and his wife'.
Most of the other students were as young as 5.
A gift box containing a silver bookmark with a Presidential seal and Barack Obama's signature engraved was presented to the 14 students by Michelle Obama at the end of their interview.
The Humayun's tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is said to be the structure on which the Taj Mahal in Agra was modelled. It was built by Mughal emperor Humayun in memory of his wife.
The Obamas arrived at the site at 5 p.m., amid a swarm of US and Indian security officials. They left after spending around half an hour.
Obama urges 'risen' India to begin dialogue with Pakistan (Second Lead)
Mumbai, Nov 7- Sharing New Delhi's perception that progress by Islamabad in tackling terror was not quick enough, US President Barack Obama Sunday nudged India to begin a dialogue with its neighbour, saying New Delhi has "the biggest stake in a successful and stable Pakistan".
Obama, however, ruled out any mediation by the US in bilateral issues between India and Pakistan, an intervention Islamabad has been lobbying hard for quite some time.
"My hope is that over time, trust develops between the two countries, that dialogue begins, perhaps on less controversial issues, building up to more controversial issues," Obama said at the St. Xavier's College here in response to a question from a female student.
Obama, who had shunned any mention of Pakistan in his speech Saturday at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel before survivors of the 26/11 carnage, underlined that it was in India's interest to remove the "distraction" of insecurity, a euphemism for Pakistan-origin terror, in the region when it was moving ahead on the global economic stage.
"Obviously, the history between India and Pakistan is incredibly complex and born out of much tragedy and violence. It may be surprising, but I am absolutely convinced that the country which has the biggest stake in Pakistan's success is India," Obama said.
"If Pakistan is unstable, that's bad for India. If Pakistan is stable and prosperous, that's good because India is on the move," he added.
Obama is expected to discuss the situation in Pakistan and ways of dealing with extremism flowing from that country when he meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for talks in New Delhi Monday.
He, however, rejected any attempt at mediation.
"India and Pakistan can prosper and live side by side, this will not happen tomorrow but needs to be the ultimate goal. The US can be a partner but cannot impose this process. India and Pakistan have their own understanding," he said.
When he was asked the question on Pakistan, the US president quipped: "I was expecting this."
Answering a query on why Pakistan had not been declared a terrorist state, Obama admitted that although "progress (in tackling terror) is not as quick as we like," Pakistan was an "enormous country" which was a "strategically important country not just for us, but for the world".
He felt that while the Pakistani people had "enormous potential", it was a country with extremist elements within its territory.
"We will work with the Pakistan government to eradicate extremism which is a cancer that can engulf the country. We think that the Pakistan government understands the potential threat that exists within the borders," said Obama.
He acknowledged that some elements in Pakistan that are affiliated with the Taliban, the Al Qaida and the LeT are "irreconcilable" and said there needs to be a military response in a "significant, ongoing" way against those who perpetrate violence like they did in Mumbai and New York.
India-US ties anchor of security, world prosperity: Obama (Second Lead)
Mumbai, Nov 7- Stating that he was determined to take bilateral ties to an entirely new level, US President Barack Obama Sunday asserted that India-US relationship could be the anchor for security and prosperity in Asia and the world.
"I am here because I think that the partnership between India and US has limitless potential to improve lives of Indians and Americans. It has potential to be the anchor of security and prosperity and progress for Asia and the world," Obama said in his introductory remarks at St. Xavier's College here.
Speaking about his India visit, Obama, dressed in black trousers and a white shirt with sleeves rolled half way up, said: "The common thread that runs through the different issues that the two countries cooperate on is my determination to take partnership (between the two countries) to an entirely new level."
He said the US did not consider India as an emerging power. "We believe that India has already risen," said Obama to a select gathering of students from various institutions.
"India is taking its rightful place in Asia and the global stage. We see India's emergence as good for US and good for the world," he added.
Obama expressed his "extraordinary amount of respect for the rich and diverse civilization that has thrived here for thousands of years". "We draw strength from India's struggle for freedom which helped inspire America's own civil rights movement," he added.
He again asserted that India-US relationship will be "indispensable in shaping the 21st century".
Paying his tribute to the 26/11 terror victims at the Taj hotel, Obama said he was struck by the resilience of the Indian people. "I saw firsthand the resilience of the Indian people," he said and reaffirmed the US's commitment to fight "terrorism and violence extremism in all its forms".
He added he was "humbled" by his visit to Mani Bhawan, where Mahatma Gandhi had stayed for several years.
Looking forward to his New Delhi sojourn, the US president said he will hold discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and address the Indian parliament.
"There, I will discuss in greater detail our efforts to broaden and deepen our cooperation and make some specific announcement on issues like counter-terrorism, regional security, on clean energy and climate change and on the advance of economic growth and development and democracy across the globe," said Obama.
Michelle to walk through 5,000 years of culture at crafts museum (Lead)
New Delhi, Nov 7- The National Handicrafts and Handloom Museum, home to more than 20,000 exhibits and a village complex showcasing ethnic and regional crafts and textiles, is all set to host US First Lady Michelle Obama Monday morning.
It is part of her familiarisation trip through 5,000 years of Indian culture, crafts and civilisation -- providing her with an opportunity to sample Indian goods and even indulge in a bit of shopping.
"We are looking forward to Michelle Obama's visit. She will arrive at 10.55 a.m. Monday morning. The museum has been taken over by security forces. It will be sanitised by 8 p.m. when the cleaners and staff will have to leave the premises to make way for security personnel accompanying the first lady," an official of the crafts museum told IANS.
Michelle Obama will be guided through the gallery spaces and a special exposition of select crafts by the director of the museum. The crafts spread for the first lady includes cane and bamboo ware from Assam, pata chitra -- the traditional art from Bengal, zari work from Delhi and madhubani art from Bihar.
The first lady will enter the museum, adjoining Pragati Maidan, through its main entrance near the ancient Bhairon Nath Temple -- known to date back to the time of Mahabharata.
"We will mount a special display of Indian art history. Throughout the day, we were busy laying out the gallery," the official said.
The museum has conceived a cultural showcase for the first lady that will include a Baul soiree from West Bengal.
Besides, the first lady might also be shown a eight-minute documentary.
According to Ruchira Ghosh, director of the museum, "the visit will boost the museum's image".
The museum serves as a confluence of arts, crafts and culture. The highlight of the museum is an ethnic village complex spread across five acres. It has 15 structures - mostly homes and temples from the states of India showcasing ethnic lifestyles. The complex has been designed by architect Charles Correa.
The repository has nearly 20,000 exhibits of heritage and cultural value.
The galleries, closed on Mondays, will make an exception to host the US first lady this Monday. The gallery spaces include the tribal and rural craft gallery, gallery of courtly crafts, textile gallery and gallery of popular culture, among others.
Some of museum's prized collections include the Bhoota art collection from Karnataka, rare 300-year-old ‘dushalas (shawls)' from Kashmir, handkerchiefs, known for their unique embroidery, from Chamba in Himachal Pradesh, rare brocade and Baluchari saris from West Bengal and embroidery from Kutch.
Obama's dance steps make waves in US (Lead)
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Nov 7- US President Barack Obama's unscripted dance moves while celebrating Diwali with students in Mumbai are making news back home in the US.
Pictures of Obama's "Dancing, Diwali", as CNN put it, are already hitting the airwaves.
"Obama started his second day in India on a lighter note: pulling a few dance moves and celebrating a major religious festival with local students," it said reporting how the Obamas spent Sunday morning at a local school
"Youngsters performed dances in colorful saris to mark the festival of lights. The president bobbed his head to the music and clapped."
"Obama took a break from work this morning to participate in cultural events here in Mumbai," reported conservative Fox News in a long colour piece. Obamas "attended a Diwali candle lighting and literally colourful performance at a local high school and the festivities brought both the Obamas to their feet."
For the influential New York Times, it was the "big news" of the day.
Reporting on how "In India, Obama Faces Tough Questions From Students," at a Mumbai college, it said Obama "defended his administration's stance toward Pakistan"
"Obama's answers hardly broke news; he was characteristically delicate in all of his responses. Indeed, the big news of the day may have happened before he showed up at the college: earlier, during a visit to a high school, Obama showed off his dance moves, in an image that may well become an iconic one of this trip," it said.
He took Obamas down the passages of history
By Devirupa Mitra
New Delhi, Nov 7-- As US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama strolled around the sprawling Humayun's Tomb complex, it was archaeologist K.K. Muhammad who guided them through the history of the red sandstone monument on whose architecture the Taj Mahal is said to have been modelled. Muhammad has done this tour for numerous foreign heads of states over the last two decades.
Muhammad, superintending archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), was there to receive the US first couple as their limousine drove up to the west gate of the World Heritage site complex.
Muhammad has been a chief guide to visiting leaders and heads of state when they go for sight-seeing to historical monuments - most famously, for former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf at Taj Mahal in 1999. The first head of state he took on a guided tour was German chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1989-90.
For the US first couple, Muhammad did not have to do much homework. "We know about the monument as it is part of the job," Muhammad told IANS.
He began by explaining to the Obamas about the significance of Humayun's Tomb, pointing out that this was one of three World Heritage sites in New Delhi. According to Muhammad, the monument is also the first time that "gardens have been integrated into the tomb complex".
The US president, dressed in white shirt and black trousers, stood to read a stone plaque at the tomb complex, which had been spruced up for their visit. "He wanted to know how long it took to build this place. Seven years, I told him," said Muhammad.
Later, when he was leaving Obama mentioned this fact to the reporters, and added on a lighter vein, "If you had to build this in US in seven years, it would be tough. Good contractors."
The senior ASI official noted how the US president was interested in learning about the strands of different cultures that had resulted in the 'melting pot' architectural style of Humayun's Tomb.
"He wanted to see how the different strands were used in the architecture," Muhammad said. .
So, Muhammad pointed out how the dome was an import from Central Asia, the ancestral land of the Mughals. Persia was represented through the various arches and India made its presence known through the various decorative motifs and the 'kalashs' or pot on the top of the dome.
The US first lady was especially struck by the decorative motifs of lotus flowers embedded in marble on the sandstone structure. "Lotus has no significance left either in Islam or Christianity. This is a specific Indian motif which has been assimilated in the architecture," said Muhammad.
Muhammad explained to a curious Obama that the Humayun's Tomb was a precursor to the Taj Mahal. Obama then wanted to know how many years later the Taj was built. Muhammad informed him, 70 years later. The archaeologist explained to the US president that if the entire Humayun's Tomb structure is made of marble, including the minarets, it will look exactly like the Taj Mahal. "Obama seemed to like the idea very much," said Muhammad.
He also stoked the president's curiosity when he made the linkage between Dara Shikoh, a Mughal prince buried in the complex, and American transcendental poets like Walt Whitman and Ralph W. Emerson.
"He really was interested in the linkage. Dara Shikoh had translated the Sanskrit Upanishands into Persian, which were then translated into Latin by a French orientalist. This inspired a German philosopher's work, which then further inspired American transcendentalist philosophers," he said.
Anti-US protest plan is on: Left leaders
New Delhi, Nov 7- Left party leaders Sunday said their plans were on to hold country-wide protests Monday while US President Barack Obama is in New Delhi, but declined to give details.
Basudeb Acharia, leader of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) parliamentary party, told IANS that the Left parties have called for protests all over the country to demand the "extradition of Warren Anderson (the former chief of Union Carbide) and to protest against American attempts to enter the agricultural and retail sectors in India".
"The protests will be held in various centres, including New Delhi," he said, without giving any details.
CPI-M sources said that there may be small protests at some centres in New Delhi as were held in Mumbai Saturday.
Communist Party of India (CPI) deputy general secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy told IANS: "The Left parties - the CPI-M, the CPI, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Forward Bloc - had jointly decided on the protest. It will be held."
Delhi Police have banned public protests near parliament, where Obama will be addressing MPs Monday.