In India, Obama to stay at terror-hit Taj hotel

Updated: 2010-10-28 09


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In India, Obama to stay at terror-hit Taj hotel
In this August 15, 2010 file photo, women pose for a street photographer (not pictured) in front of Taj Mahal Hotel on India's Independence Day in Mumbai. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's stay next week at the Indian hotel attacked by terrorists in 2008 is part of the White House's effort to show the US commitment an important ally during his 10-day, four-country trip to Asia.

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The 107-year-old Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai reopened for business in August, nearly two years after the siege that left 166 people dead across the city, including 31 at the hotel.

Obama will stay at the Taj on November 6, his first night in India, and will discuss the attacks, the White House said Wednesday.

Obama's longest foreign trip as president also will take him to Indonesia, where he spent time as a boy; South Korea, host of this year's summit of major and emerging economic nations; and Japan, for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Obama plans meetings with foreign leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao. That get-together comes at a time of rising economic and trade friction with China.

By starting in India and devoting three full days there, Obama is seeking to promote a relationship with important ties to US jobs and security.

The trip will follow right after the November 2 elections that are expected to produce bad results for Obama's Democrats. White House aides emphasized that Obama is not leaving US concerns behind, and that US jobs and the economy will be his focus throughout the trip.

White House aides tried to dismiss speculation that Obama is avoiding a well-known Indian temple so that he won't have to wear a head covering and perhaps add to misconceptions that he's a Muslim. Obama is Christian.

The president's advance team had reviewed the Golden Temple, a popular tourist stop in Amritsar, India. But it was dropped because Obama's schedule centers on Mumbai and New Delhi, aides said.

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