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Obama cuts India visit short to pay respects to dead Saudi monarch following "breakthrough" N-deal

Marie Mentesana / Red Dirt Report
Top headline in India's Deccan Chronicle newspaper.
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NELLORE, India – Red Dirt Report correspondent Marie Mentesana, on assignment in southeastern India, alerted us Sunday night that the Monday edition of India’s Deccan Chronicle is reporting that President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have had a very positive and warm meeting where the two countries have reached a “breakthrough understanding” that would make it easier for US and foreign firms to invest in Indian nuclear power plants.

“Barack and I have forged a friendship,” Modi told reporters after meeting the American president at the airport and giving him a big hug. The impression was that ties between Washington and Delhi will be the much stronger. That was made clear as Obama is the featured guest for India’s annual Republic Day, celebrating the adoption of the Indian constitution.

However, with the death of King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, Obama is shortening his trip to India, and no longer planning to go to the Taj Mahal and other locales in northern India, as previously reported by Red Dirt Report. Mentesana reports that many in Nellore and Andhra Pradesh state are talking about Obama's visit and the circumstances curtailing the extent of his visit. 

The Hindu, meanwhile, reports that the breakthrough nuclear deal will not lessen or dilute issues related to liability.

Right now, Indian law holds suppliers, designers and builders liable in case of an accident, making companies loath to invest in the country’s nuclear power plants,” notes The Washington Post

As some may recall, in 2012, a report revealed that radioactive scrap metal from India was used to create tissue box holders that were later scheduled to be sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond stores in the United States. Whether or not this aspect of nuclear security was discussed was not clear. 

In recent years, there has been apprehension regarding the building of nuclear power plants, particularly in the wake of the ongoing Fukushima catastrophe in Japan, now entering its fourth year.

And while Obama and Modi are making progress on seeing eye-to-eye on climate change, much will have to wait to be ironed out at a global climate talks in Paris in September.

EDITOR'S NOTE* (10:36 p.m. January 25, 2015): A Twitter campaign was launched this week, urging Obama and Modi to discuss China's brutal occupation of Tibet and the security implications of that situation. The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has called India home for over 60 years. The campaign, #AskObamaModi, had many participants, although it is not clear if either world leader addressed it during their short meeting or planned to in the near future.


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