Just hours before the US president Barack Obama took off from Washington for his three-day state visit to India beginning on Sunday, he ordered to simply chop off a poignant slice of his tour itinerary – a memorable visit to the Taj Mahal... Obama decided that he also urgently needed to be in Saudi Arabia and, therefore, once the transactional part of his India visit was over, he would head straight for Riyadh... Clearly, Obama intends to engage first hand at the very earliest the new Saudi leadership under King Salman. A criticality arises, since King Salman who is in the late seventies is known to be suffering from Alzheimer’s, and according to the Wall Street Journal, US officials do not consider him to be a strong or healthy ruler in his own right, which inevitably raises the possibility of others in the royal family coming to the forecourt in a matter of time...
Former career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. Devoted much of his 3-decade long career to the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran desks in the Ministry of External Affairs and in assignments on the territory of the former Soviet Union. After leaving the diplomatic service, took to writing and contribute to The Asia Times, The Hindu and Deccan Herald. Lives in New Delhi.