Obama’s Visit to India Seeks to Deepen Economic Ties
By Stephen Kaufman
Washington — President Obama’s November 6–9 visit to India will pay special attention to the deepening economic ties between the United States and India, and his interest in expanding the export of American goods and services and increasing U.S. business investment in the country.
Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Mike Froman told reporters at the White House October 27 that India represents “one of the most important emerging economic relationships for the United States, both multilaterally and bilaterally.”
Froman said that the United States sees “a large potential market” in India, with its population of 1.2 billion and an economy that is expected to grow at 8 percent over the next several years. The Obama administration is working to ensure “there’s a level playing field there, there’s open markets there, and that our exports have an opportunity to penetrate that market and support jobs back here,” Froman said.
The relationship is “a two-way street,” he added. While the United States has quadrupled its goods exports to $17 billion over the past seven years, and tripled its service exports to around $10 billion a year, Indian companies are the second-fastest-growing group of investors in the United States, supporting 57,000 American jobs.
According to Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes, President Obama will arrive in Mumbai November 6 and will participate in the U.S.-India Business Council meeting by meeting with Indian entrepreneurs and U.S. business leaders to discuss business opportunities in India. Obama plans to deliver a speech to the meeting on the economic relationship, as well as “the enormous potential for both countries to expand growth and opportunity for our people through that relationship,” Rhodes said.
He will also address the Indian Parliament in New Delhi November 8 to discuss bilateral cooperation on economic issues, as well as shared political and security interests, Rhodes said.
The president’s three-day visit is “the longest single foreign visit of his presidency so far,” Rhodes said, and having India serve as the first stop on his visit to Asia “underscores the significance and the potential of Indian-American partnership.”
Obama will also stay at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, one of the sites attacked by terrorists in November 2008, where he will make remarks and pay respects to the victims, Rhodes said.
His visit will also take him to the museum honoring Indian independence and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi in Mumbai, and to Gandhi’s memorial in New Delhi. Rhodes also said that in Mumbai, the president will celebrate the Diwali holiday with Indian schoolchildren and speak with Indian university students in a town hall meeting.
The president’s visit follows India’s October 27 signing of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, which governs nuclear liability.
Speaking along with Rhodes and Froman, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns welcomed India’s signing as “a very positive step toward ensuring that international standards apply and that U.S. companies are going to have a level playing field on which to compete.”
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://www.america.gov)