Arrangements have been put in place for emergency evacuation, if needed
Obama is expected to fly by a helicopter -- Marine One -- from the city airport to the Indian Navy's helibase INS Shikra at Colaba in south Mumbai.
Two jets, armed with advanced communication and security systems, and a fleet of over 40 cars will be part of Obamas convoy.
Around 800 rooms have been booked for the President and his entourage in Taj Hotel and Hyatt.The President's "entourage" will consist of some 3,000 people, and the trip is expected to cost $200 million per day. I strongly suspect that the 34 warships are not included in this price tag. Do the math.
So, what does the United States hope to gain from this trip? Well, Reuters says "Obama India's visit may be more style than substance":
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A weakened U.S. President Barack Obama visits India this week to counter perceptions he has relegated the Asian power behind rivals China and Pakistan, but he may struggle to seal deals to help usher in billions of dollars of business.So,"ties are booming" and "outsourcing in cities such as IT hub Bangalore is worsening mass unemployment in the United States", and the trip is "aimed at boosting U.S. exports and jobs".
Economic ties are booming but Obama's visit from Saturday to Monday may fail to live up to President Bill Clinton's 2000 trip that helped break the diplomatic ice, or President George W. Bush's visit in 2006 when a civil nuclear deal was hailed as a landmark in ties.
Obama's drubbing in the mid-term elections may also tie his political hands when it comes to bold policy moves on India as growing worries emerge that outsourcing in cities such as IT hub Bangalore is worsening mass unemployment in the United States.
It was a sign of the times that Obama told the Press Trust of India that India should open up its markets to U.S. companies, a stance that may dominate a 10-day trip of Asia aimed at boosting U.S. exports and jobs, crucial for his presidency's fate.
"Obama is going to be too preoccupied domestically, and you won't see a more aggressive foreign policy going forward," said Amitabh Mattoo, professor of international politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
"On his upcoming trip, I think that the best India can hope for is a consolidation of the relationship established under President Bush."
The average Indian exists on less than $2 per day which is exactly why U.S. companies are outsourcing jobs there. So, again, what is the upside to us? I still don't see it. Again from the Reuters piece:
A bilateral trade boom has seen total flows treble to $36.5 billion in goods in the decade to 2009-10, but the United States slipped from number one to three in India's trade partners. India lags China, the United States' third-biggest trading partner.
Washington faces a host of hurdles, including Indian worries that signing defense pacts -- which are necessary for the U.S. arms sales to go through -- may land New Delhi in a wider entanglement with the U.S. military.
The civil nuclear deal with the United States was signed to great fanfare, but it struggled through parliament and now the accord has sparked criticism that U.S. companies in the sector will be discouraged to invest due to high liabilities.
Obama has already played down ending a ban on U.S. exports of dual-use technology, telling the Press Trust of India it was "very difficult and complicated" to meet Indian expectations.
Obama may offer some support for India's place for a permanent seat on the U.N Security Council, but he will likely step short of a full endorsement.
"It will be the opportunity to consolidate all that we have built in the past decade," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao was quoted as saying in the Indian Express. "We are not in a stage in our relationship for dramatic breakthroughs and big-bang."
For its part, India will be wary of perceptions it is putting its eggs into one U.S. basket despite Obama's personal ties with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Any sign of India's sovereignty being undermined can rally political opposition against Singh.