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Barack Obama departs from India to Saudi Arabia

Obama

New Delhi: US President Barack Obama today left for Saudi Arabia, wrapping up his three-day visit here during which 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.

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 Prime Minister Narendra 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.

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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 yesterday 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 today addressed a Town hall event at Siri Fort Auditorium here during which he spoke on a range of issues and made a strong pitch for religious tolerance.

Barack Obama tweeted

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