US President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to attend India’s Republic Day parade next week, has never attended an event of such a great symbolic importance overseas, a top official has said.
"It’s a unique event. Given the US-India history and given the importance of Republic Day in India, it is of great symbolic importance. And so that’s why he was more than pleased to accept the invitation," Deputy National Security Advisor for US President Ben Rhodes said.
Even domestically, the US President’s inauguration is the only event that can be compared with Obama’s participation in India’s Republic Day parade next Monday, he said yesterday.
"I do not think Obama has attended any national day ceremonies as President. I am fairly confident of that. I have been on just about all of his foreign travel and I can’t recall President Obama attending any other national day ceremony," Rhodes said.
Asked if this is a security nightmare, he said, "With respect to the President’s security requirements, all I can tell you is, for instance, the President views his own inaugural parade.
"The two times he’s been inaugurated, we had substantial parades here in the US to mark the presidential inauguration in which the President walks in the parade and then is on a reviewing stand for a period of hours in front of the White House. So to me that’s the closest analogy," Rhodes said.
"They’re obviously different events, but that the most analogous event where the President is in a reviewing stand viewing this type of ceremony for a period of hours, I think that’s the closest analogy we have," he said.