The President`s Trip to South Asia: New Delhi, Tuesday, March 21


Arrival Ceremony
Rashtrapati Bhawan
New Delhi

At the arrival ceremony, the Guard of Honor will present arms as the U.S. National Anthem and the Indian National Anthem are played. President Clinton will then review the troops, accompanied by the Guard Commander, before introducing the U.S. Delegation to President K.R. Narayanan and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Rashtrapati Bhawan (Hindi for presidential palace) is the official residence of the President of India, Mr. K.R. Narayanan, who assumed office in 1997. A portion of the building houses the President's Secretariat as well. The Durbar Hall is used to conduct such state functions as the swearing-in of the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers and presentation of civilian and military honors. The Ashoka Hall (named for King Ashoka who reigned from 272 to 232 B.C.) is used for the acceptance by the President of credentials from foreign ambassadors, cultural functions in honor of visiting heads of state, and presentation of certain prestigious awards. The forecourt of the palace is used for official welcomes for visiting foreign leaders.

Rashtrapati Bhawan was designed by Edwin Lutyens (the principal architect of New Delhi) and built on Raisina Hill as a grand palace for the Viceroy of India. Work on the building began in 1913 and was completed in 1929. The first British Viceroy to occupy the building was Lord Irwin and the last was Lord Louis Mountbatten.

The style of this building is a brilliant amalgam of the Mughal (Muslim) Indian and classical European schools of architecture. The building is constructed of two shades of sandstone and measures approximately one kilometer (0.6 mile) around the foundation. The main structure is roughly 195 meters wide and 165 meters deep. It has a colossal central dome surmounting a long colonnade and 340 rooms. The floor area covers roughly 18,580 square meters. The Durbar Hall is 23 meters in diameter and is inlaid with colored marble. The Ashoka Hall, originally built as the state ballroom, is rectangular in shape, measuring 32 meters by 20 meters. The vast forecourt is T-shaped, with the Jaipur Column (a 145-foot-tall pillar) at the center. To the west of the building are the famed Mughal Gardens, which boast an impressive collection of roses and chrysanthemums.

Gandhi Memorial Ceremony
Rajghat Samadhi
New Delhi

President Clinton will place a wreath on the memorial and, accompanied by Mirmala Desh Pandai, plant a tree near the platform.

A simple black marble platform marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated on January 31, 1948. A stone footpath flanked by well-kept lawns leads to a walled enclosure, open to the sky, where the memorial is lighted by an eternal flame.

It is customary for foreign leaders to visit this site to pay respects to the Father of the Indian Nation. As a mark of respect, one is required to remove footwear before approaching the memorial. It is also is traditional to lay flowers or wreaths on the platform.

Gandhi, whose non-violent philosophy won for him the title “Mahatma” or “great spirit,” was assassinated by a Hindu militant on January 30,1948 on his way to a prayer meeting about six miles from Rajghat. Though Rajghat is located on the banks of the Yamuna River, his ashes were consigned to various rivers throughout the country. Prayer sessions are held at Rajghat on Gandhi's birth and death anniversaries.

Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee
Hyderabad House
New Delhi

At this meeting, President Clinton, accompanied by Secretary Albright and National Security Advisor Berger, will meet with Prime Minister Vajpayee, Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, and National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra. They will address the larger political issues that concern both countries: instability and conflict in South Asia, nuclear weapons, economic cooperation between the two countries, challenges such as AIDS and the environment, India's role in Asia, and the future of the U.S.-Indian relationship.

Hyderabad House is a former princely residence that now is used by the Government of India for banquets and meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries. It has also been a venue for joint press conferences and other media events.

Hyderabad House was designed by Edwin Lutyens (the principal architect of New Delhi) as a residence for the Nizam (ruler) of the erstwhile kingdom of Hyderabad, in South India. The need for a residence in Delhi arose because the most important traditional rulers (maharajas) of Indian states were inducted in 1919 into a Chamber of Princes and, therefore, had to come to Delhi to attend the Chamber's meetings. The Nizam's sons disliked the building, finding it too western in style for their taste. Consequently, the building was seldom used. After independence, the building was taken over by the Government and, until the early 1990's, served as a state guesthouse for visiting foreign dignitaries.

Completed in 1928, Hyderabad House is a mixture of the Mughal (Muslim) and European styles of architecture. It is the largest of the palaces that was built during the period 1921-1931 to house various state rulers. In all, the house has 36 rooms, four of which have been converted into dining rooms.

Joint Statement and Signing Ceremony with Prime Minister Vajpayee
Hyderabad House Garden
New Delhi

President Clinton and Prime Minister Vajpayee will sign a vision statement outlining the goals and principles that should guide our relationship going forward.

Official Lunch
Ashok Hotel
New Delhi

Built in 1956, the Ashok Hotel was the largest and most prestigious hotel in Delhi for more than 20 years. It is still the leading government-owned hotel in the capital. Built of red sandstone, it sprawls over 25 acres of land. The hotel combines modern amenities with traditional Indian architectural motifs and an interior reminiscent of the era of the Maharajas.

The Ashok, which offers a choice of over 560 rooms and suites, was designed to recreate the atmosphere of a palace hotel with its large scale and extensive gardens, landscaped lawns and outdoor pool. It is named after the enlightened Emperor Ashoka, who first united much of India in the 3rd century B.C. The Ashok is situated in Chanakyapuri, the prestigious diplomatic enclave of New Delhi and is approximately a 5 minute drive from the U.S. Embassy.

Meeting with Vice President Krishan Kant
Rashtrapati Bhawan
New Delhi

Bilateral Meeting with President K.R. Narayanan
Rashtrapati Bhawan
New Delhi

State Dinner and Cultural Entertainment
Rashtrapati Bhawan
New Delhi



New Delhi, Tuesday, March 21

New Delhi and Agra, Wednesday, March 22

Jaipur and Naila, Thursday, March 23

Mahavir, Hyderabad and Mumbai, Friday, March 24

Islamabad, Saturday, March 25

Dhaka, Monday, March 20

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