Obamas bid adieu to India

New Delhi: US President Barack Obama on Tuesday left for Saudi Arabia, wrapping up his three-day visit in India.

During his visit, both the countries broke a seven-year logjam to operationalise a landmark civil nuclear deal, besides enhancing defence and trade ties.

Obama, accompanied by his wife Michelle, folded his hands in a traditional “namaste” and waved before boarding Air Force One at the Palam airport where Union Minister Piyush Goyal and, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, were among those present.

As Obama departed,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his visit has taken the bilateral relations to a new level and opened a new chapter.

“Farewell @WhiteHouse! Your visit has taken India-USA ties to a new level & opened a new chapter. Wish you a safe journey,” Modi tweeted as Obama took off for Saudi Arabia, concluding his three-day trip in India.

The White House also thanked Modi and the Indian people for making the visit memorable. “Thank you @NarendraModi for a memorable visit, and to the Indian people for their warm welcome,” the White House said in a tweet, which was re-tweeted by Modi.

In his tweets, the Prime Minister also referred to the rains on Monday during the Republic Day parade, apparently referring to the uncomfortable situation created by it with Obama himself having to carry an umbrella for some time.

“As for the rainy day yesterday, as you yourself said @WhiteHouse today morning, Bade Bade Deshon Mein (in big, big countries)… ,” Modi.

In another tweet, Modi said he had presented to Obama a set of recordings from the tour of American singer Marian Anderson in 1957. “The recordings consist of Ms. Anderson’s interview to AIR & a video capturing her rendition of the hymn ‘Lead Kindly Light’ at Gandhi Smriti,” he added.

Obama and the US First Lady had planned a visit to the Taj Mahal but cancelled their trip to the world heritage site and instead decided to visit Saudi Arabia to pay condolences to the Royal family following death of King Abdullah.

In his talks with Modi on Sunday, both the leaders managed to remove the hurdles to operationalise the civil nuclear deal besides deciding to jointly produce military hardware and stepping up economic engagement.

In what Obama called a “breakthrough”, the two sides resolved key hurdles pertaining to the liability of suppliers of nuclear reactors in the event of an accident and the tracking of fuel supplied by the US.

Obama on Monday became the first US President to grace the Republic Day celebrations. He is also the first American President to visit India twice.

The American President on Tuesday addressed a Town hall event at Siri Fort Auditorium in the capital during which he spoke on a range of issues and made a strong pitch for religious tolerance.

(With inputs from PTI)

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