By ‘here,’ I mean on NDTV, which is covering every moment of the Obamas’ trip, unlike most of the mainstream US media, which is fixated on a bunch of eccentrics who are on their way to Washington.
NDTV is New Delhi TV, a network started by an actual journalist and which has grown to twenty outlets and a thousand employees.
The coverage of the presidential visit is live and non-stop. He just finished a town hall with 300 students and first, the news anchors spent a lot of time explaining what a town hall is. One of the questions asked concerned Pakistan as a terrorist state.
This is a burning issue for Indians and NDTV was reporting earlier that he was carefully not mentioning Pakistan. This was rather politely accepted by the Indian media, which was quick to point out that Obama would no doubt want to avoid the gaffe made by David Cameron on his visit. I don’t know what that gaffe was, but apparently it is still fresh in everybody’s mind.
His speech before he took questions was described by the anchors as ‘stirring’ and ‘passionate’ – I think we have a whole new crew of Obamaniacs signing up.
Another good source for coverage is rediff.com -India’s largest web portal – which not only has clips of his appearances, but a bunch of really good essays. From them, I gather that Pakistan and a seat for India on the UN Security Council are the two biggest issues for India.
The President and First Lady are on their way to New Delhi, where they will be met at the airport by Prime Minister Singh and his wife. This is a major break in protocol apparently and extremely gracious.
Obama speaks to the Parliament tomorrow where he will again discuss Pakistan and the UN seat.
Watching NDTV is absolutely fascinating – and that includes the commercials. Since we’re all about foreign trade these days, it’s interesting to note that of the twenty 15-second commercials shown in a rapid fire three or four minutes, only two were advertising American products: Colgate toothpaste and McDonalds’s. The rest were German, French, British, Japanese and Indian.
McDonald’s is featuring a tikki sandwich for 25 rupees.