In an interview to India Today magazine, the US President said he's honoured to be in India twice. President of world's most powerful nation, arriving in New Delhi on Jan 25 as a chief guest to India's 66th Republic Day celebrations, said he hopes relationship between world's oldest democracy and the largest democracy can be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.
Talking about the issue of terrorism Obama told the magazine 'safe havens within Pakistan are not acceptable and that those behind the Mumbai terrorist attack must face justice.'
The White House earlier said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to Obama be the first American leader to be the chief guest at India's Republic day took him by "some surprise" but he felt "personally honoured" to accept.
in a conference call previewing the visit Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters on Tuesday, "Given the "complicated history" between the two countries, "I think it took us by some surprise."
"There's a great affinity between the US and India and our people, but there's also a history that is complicated and that would have made it seem highly unlikely that a US President would be sitting with India's leaders at their Republic Day ceremony," he said.
"So I think President Obama was personally honoured to receive that invitation. I think he saw it as building on a successful summit with Prime Minster Modi," Rhodes said.