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This is what President Bush will do in India

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Last updated on: February 23, 2006 16:34 IST

United States President George W Bush arrives in India on Wednesday, March 1, to take India-US relations to new heights.

According to official sources, President Bush, along with First Lady Laura Bush, will check into the Maurya Sheraton hotel soon after they arrive that evening.

No engagement has been lined up for the president, who is known to sleep by 9 pm, on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Bush will be given a ceremonial arrival at Rashtrapati Bhavan, with a 21-gun salute. Soon after, he will visit Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi's memorial, to pay floral tributes to the Father of the Nation.

He then heads to Hyderabad House, the Government of India's convention centre.

His engagements begin with the summit with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The two leaders will review progress made in their July 18, 2005 agreement.

Next, both leaders will meet with the Indo-US CEOs Forum that was launched last July. The Forum will present a report card on their activities to both leaders and provide suggestion to boost Indo-US trade.

The Forum is co-headed by Tata Group Chairman Ratan N Tata and Paul Hanrahan, CEO, AES Corporation.

Following this meeting, President Bush and Dr Singh will meet the media. Each leader usually take two questions each from the Indian and visiting media.

After the media conference, Dr Singh will host a lunch for President Bush at the Taj Palace hotel.

The Taj Palace was chosen as the venue for the luncheon as the dining hall at Hyderabad House can cater to only about 80 people.

After lunch, President Bush returns to the Maurya, where Leader of the Opposition Lal Kishenchand Advani and Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi will call on him.

Dinner will be at Rashtrapati Bhavan, where President A P J Abdul Kalam will host an elegant meal for his American counterpart and about 100 guests.

On Friday, March 3, President Bush will fly to Hyderabad.

His first engagement will be a visit to the Acharya N G Ranga Agriculture University.

Dr Singh envisages a second Green Revolution with US help. A knowledge initiative on agriculture was initiated last July.

Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who handles non-strategic issues between India and the US, has assembled a core team to focus on infrastructure, agriculture and science and technology, which have emerged as focus areas following Dr Singh's visit to the US in July.

President Bush is expected to commence an Indo-US partnership in agriculture, with a grant of over $50 million.

Both countries will look at how biotechnology and nanotechnology can help Indian agriculture, with the US lending a helping hand in water management.

Bush will then visit the Indian School of Business, which has forged academic associations with three of the world's leading business schools -- the Kellogg School of Management and the Wharton School of Business in the US, and the London Business School. He will meet young entrepreneurs, young economists, IT and biotech experts.

The President's last engagement in Hyderabad will be of great interest to the Telugu biddas living in the US. He is expected to announce the opening of a US consulate in Hyderabad.

Two pieces of statistics have led the US administration to request the President to make this announcement. A survey conducted a couple of years ago revealed that 30 per cent of the Indian IT workforce in the US hails from Andhra Pradesh. In the last 20 years, the largest number of US visa seekers have also hailed from the state. The Andhra-ites have to travel to Chennai, New Delhi or Mumbai for visa interviews.

He will return to New Delhi and address MPs, academicians, artistes, members of FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM at the Purana Qilla, the grand venue that makes for a great photo opportunity with its sepia-toned stone walls and natural surroundings.

After the speech, he will dine with the First Lady, members of his entourage and the US embassy staff at the Maurya. The next morning, he will fly to Pakistan, an important American ally and strategic anchor in the world of Islam.

Also read: The nuclear tango

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi