US President Barack Obama cancels Agra visit

SansadTV Bureau

File Photo(PTI)

US President Barack Obama has cancelled his much-publicised visit to Agra and would be leaving for Saudi Arabia from New Delhi on January 27.

While Obama has retained the programme of his address to a select gathering in Delhi on January 27, a visit to Agra to see the iconic Taj Mahal has been cancelled as the President will leave from New Delhi to Saudi Arabia whose king Abdullah died on Thursday night.

After Americans informed the change in the programme of the President, all concerned security agencies and local administration has been conveyed the same.

A senior UP government official in Lucknow said that Obama has cancelled all his personal programmes as he would be travelling to Saudi Arabia.

He was scheduled to visit the city of Taj with his wife Michelle Obama on Tuesday next for which elaborate security arrangements had been made.

The US President, who will be arriving in India on Sunday for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and be the chief guest at the Republic Day, will leave India on January 27.

Agra Commissioner Pradeep Bhatnagar said they have been told that Obama’s trip to Agra has been cancelled.

“Yes, I can confirm that Obama’s trip to Agra has been cancelled. This information was given by the US Team that was here, to the district Magistrate of Agra… that they have received orders from the top that the trip to Agra has been called off. We have not received anything official from either Government of India or the state government.

He said the American security team is now in the process of leaving Agra.

Asked if the reason for the cancellation was the Saudi King’s death, he said, “They themselves were reluctant to give any specific reason. However, they were quick to clarify that it was not because of security reasons. But they did not specify what the reason was. They said they received instructions from higher authorities.”