Monday, October 18, 2010

Obama Won't Be Visiting Chabad House When He Goes To Mumbai

So much for that message to the terrorists.

The Economist had made it sound so straightforward when it reported that Obama is going to Mumbai:
With the clear aim of sending a message to terrorists, US President Barack Obama is expected to stay overnight at Taj Hotel in Mumbai and tour other 26/11 targets when he undertakes a visit to India next month.

Sources said Obama is expected to arrive in India on November 5 on a five-day visit, his first since assuming office in January last year.

He is likely to begin his visit from Mumbai where he is expected to have an overnight stay in Taj Hotel, which was targeted by Pakistani terrorists of Lashkar-e Taiba outfit from November 26 to 28 in 2008.

Obama is also expected to visit other spots where the 10 Pakistani terrorists had struck in Mumbai, leaving 166 people dead.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had on her first visit to India in July last year after taking charge stayed at the Tower Wing of the Taj Hotel.

The sources said External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had been one of those who strongly recommended that the US President visit Mumbai during his trip here.

Obama's decision to stay at Taj Hotel is clearly aimed at sending a message to the terrorists that the democracies would not be cowed by terror attacks.
The Economist is so sure that Obama's visit is going to send a message to terrorists that it made that point twice. The only question is how strong that message will end up being.

The Times Of India indicated on October 16 that:
There are indications that Obama, who has chosen to stay at the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel, which was ravaged by the 26/11 attackers but has since been restored, is likely to visit Chabad House, the Jewish centre also known as Nariman House, and Leopold Cafe. There is also a possibility of his going to see the Oberoi Trident, another Mumbai hotel targeted as part of a plot scripted by ISI and executed by the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Now, 2 days later, The Times Of India is reporting exactly the opposite:
The Maharashtra home department has said a firm no to US President Barack Obama's proposed visit to the erstwhile Chabad House -- one of the places targeted during the 26/11 attacks.

A senior home department official said, "The US President wanted to visit sites in Mumbai that were attacked by terrorists. But we feel that it would be a great security risk if he goes to Nariman House, which is in a crowded area. We have conveyed this clearly to the US authorities. At the same time, he will visit Hotel Trident and, possibly, CST station, which too were the gumnen's targets." Sources in the government said Obama was also likely to visit Mani Bhavan.
If the life of the president of the United States would be in any way endangered by visiting the Chabad House, then obviously he should not be going. It will mean, however, that the 'message' the Economist wrote about will not be quite so strong.

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