US president Barack Obama has cancelled a planned trip to the Taj Mahal, cutting short his visit to India to travel to Saudi Arabia following King Abdullah’s death. Barack Obama “regrets” that he will not be able to visit Agra during his three-day stay to India starting on Sunday, the White House said on Saturday.
President Obama and the First Lady will travel to Riyadh on Tuesday, January 27 in order to pay respects to King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the family of the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.
Obama’s Reasons to Skip his Date to Visit Tajmahal:
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has died, royal officials have announced, weeks after he was admitted to hospital. Abdullah, who had ruled since 2005 and was said to be aged about 90, had been suffering from a lung infection. His 79-year-old half-brother, Salman, has been confirmed as the new king. Within hours of his accession to the throne of the oil-rich kingdom, King Salman vowed to maintain the same policies as his predecessors.
The US President will cut short his three-day trip to India and visit Saudi Arabia to pay respects after the death of King Abdullah, US and Indian officials said on Saturday.
So for this reason Obama will cancel a trip to India’s historic TajMahal on Jan. 27 and head to the kingdom before returning to the U.S., White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters travelling with the President. Obama arrives in New Delhi tomorrow to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations Jan. 26.
Mr Obama was due to arrive in New Delhi on Sunday for a three-day trip, and will attend the Republic Day parade on Monday at the invitation of prime minister Narendra Modi.
On 26 January, Obama will participate in the Republic Day celebration as the chief guest. In the afternoon, Obama and Modi will participate in a CEO forum roundtable. On Tuesday morning, the US President will give an address at Siri Fort Auditorium and then leave for Saudi Arabia.
Obama is the first U.S. president invited as chief guest to India’s Republic Day festivities, which is considered an honor. The unusual appearance — also making him the only two-time U.S. presidential visitor to India — caps a turnaround in bilateral ties since the 2013 arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York.