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Finally: INDIA Has ARRIVED November 20, 2010

Posted by fredpereira in Uncategorized.
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“As we look to India today the United States sees the opportunity to sell our exports in one of the fastest growing markets in the world. For America this is a jobs strategy,” said Barack Obama. It is a proud moment for all Indians that finally the most powerful country in the world USA is looking into INDIAN economy for improvement.

Barack Obama spent three days in India, the longest single foreign visit of his presidency so far. According to Obama’s schedule released by Whitehouse officials, he reached Mumbai on November 6 2010.

George. W. Bush was the last US President to visit India in 2006. And his visit took Indo-US relation to a new realm. He went more than the proverbial extra mile to sign the Indo -US Nuclear Deal which in a way ended the nuclear apartheid for India. But can the same be expected during Obama’s visit?

The political situation in America has changed a lot. Obama is going through all crests and troughs in his domestic political arena. He is preoccupied with domestic problems like global recession and unemployment which put American economy in deep pain. Obama is no more a carefree person when he visits India like Bush who had Nuclear Deal at the top of his agenda.

Day 1: A statement at Taj Hotel, to commemorate the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Visit to Gandhi Museum and later attend a business summit organized by U.S.-India Business Council.

Day 2: Spent time with local school students celebrating Diwali. He also addressed university students on the same day. Later he move to Delhi where his first event was visit to Humayun’s tomb. That night the President Obama and the First Lady had a private dinner with the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his wife.

Day 3: Begins with wreath- laying at Mahatma Gandhi’s grave. Obama’s bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his address to the joint session of Parliament were scheduled on the same day. Throughout the day the President met a number of Indian officials.

Barack Obama attempt to reach out to voters who deserted the Democrats in the midterm elections at the start of his longest foreign tour, announcing a $10bn (£6.18bn) trade deal with India that he said would pay for 54,000 US jobs. Demonstrating his attention to the sluggish US economy even while overseas, the president unveiled new export rules to make it easier for the US to trade with India.

 “As we look to India today the United States sees the opportunity to sell our exports in one of the fastest growing markets in the world. For America this is a jobs strategy,” the president said in a speech to the US-India Business Council.

The emphasis on job creation is a reminder that Obama cannot leave his domestic troubles behind him during the visit. The issue was the number one concern of voters in Tuesday’s disastrous midterms.

“There is no reason why India can’t be one of our top trading partners,” Obama said. The US would seek to relax controls on India’s purchase of “dual use” technologies that could be put to civilian or military ends.

The commercial deals he announced include the purchase of 33, 737s from Boeing by India’s SpiceJet Airlines, the Indian military’s plans to buy aircraft engines from General Electric, and preliminary agreement between Boeing and the Indian air force on the purchase of 10, C17 transport planes.

Most of the deals were already pending but the White House contends Obama’s visit to India helped seal them. Officials said the deals would support 53,670 US jobs but it was not clear how many, if any, new jobs would be created.

The president left Washington shortly after the government reported that the economy added 151,000 jobs in October. It was not sufficient to lower the 9.6% jobless rate and the president said it was not good enough.

The White House is going to great lengths to bring attention to the economic potential and shared democratic values that define its relationship with India and its 1.2bn people.

Obama addressed the business leaders shortly after arriving in Mumbai, where his first stop was at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel to commemorate the 2008 terror attacks that killed 166 people across the city.

Paying tribute to the victims, Obama said India and the US were united against terrorism. His intentions were clearly sending signals, by making Mumbai the first stop on his tour, which will take in India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan, and by staying at the Taj. All 570 rooms have been booked, with an entire floor set aside for the president. The seafront outside the hotel has been a high security zone for several days.

“We’ll never forget,” said Obama. “The United States and India stand united.”

He spoke after meeting privately with relatives of those killed in the attack and also signed a memorial book, writing: “The United States stands in solidarity with all of Mumbai and all of India in working to eradicate the scourge of terrorism.”

Indian commentators quickly seized on the fact that the president did not mention Pakistan – the home of the 10 terrorists behind the attacks. India has raised concerns about the billions of dollars in military aid that the US is funnelling to India’s neighbour and arch-rival, a linchpin for Washington and its allies in the war in Afghanistan.

The Obamas visited a museum in a former home of Mahatma Gandhi. The president wrote in the guest book that Gandhi “is a hero not just to India but to the world”.

Michelle Obama played hopscotch, danced and sang with 33 disadvantaged children for an Indian charity at the University of Mumbai.

Pakistan Factor:-

Islamabad: US President Barack Obama’s visit to India dominated the front pages of Pakistani newspapers, with the media focusing on his efforts to drum up business and create new jobs for the American economy.

Pakistani TV news channels followed every move made by Obama and his wife Michelle, providing live coverage of his public speaking engagements, interactions with different segments of society and even his arrivals in Mumbai and New Delhi.

The dailies provided extensive coverage of various events that Obama or his wife participated though there were no editorials or articles analysing his comments.

Obama and his wife’s interactions with children in Mumbai, and footage of Michelle dancing with children from orphanages to the beat of a Bollywood tune, figured prominently in the news bulletins of most TV channels.

Obama’s function at Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College, where he urged India and Pakistan to work together to resolve their differences while pushing Islamabad to do more to tackle extremism. Obama had said India would benefit more than any other country from better ties with Pakistan.

“I am absolutely convinced that the country that has the biggest stake in Pakistan is India. If Pakistan is stable and prosperous, that’s best for India,” Obama said.

 “This visit has had no adverse effect on Pakistan. In fact, Obama has backed Pakistan’s position by calling on India to resume the dialogue between the two countries. He also made it clear that it was in India’s interest to have a strong, successful and stable Pakistan,” Sayed said. Obama had also sent out a good message by describing Islam as a religion of peace.

The political situation in America has changed a lot. Obama is going through all crests and troughs in his domestic political arena. He is preoccupied with domestic problems like global recession and unemployment which put American economy in deep pain. Obama is no more a carefree person when he visits India like Bush who had Nuclear Deal at the top of his agenda.

Obama right from the beginning focused his energy on Afghanistan conundrum, which is not complete without Pakistan. America is seeking and expecting great support from Pakistan in dealing with Taliban. And that remains the only reason why America still keeping a friendly face towards Pakistan even when Pakistan’s actions are sometimes against its word of promises.

How to deal with Pakistan is one thing that India is longing to discuss with America. India is looking for a significant role in Afghanistan. But Pakistan always wanted to hamstring India’s role in Afghanistan. Any Indian interference in Afghan makes Pakistan nervous.

Another major issue is outsourcing. Recently Indian IT companies in India were worried about Obama’s anti- outsourcing call. Obama said that his administration would offer tax benefits only to those firms which will create jobs in the country

Obama himself acknowledged India as a rising and responsible global power indispensable to a future American strategy. The Indian economy which recovered from the global recession is on the right track of growth to become the world’s third or fourth largest economy. America would like to see a strong business partner in India.

Besides India and America share many values such as democracy. As Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications pointed out, “The kind of relationship that we have as the world’s two largest democracies is relevant to our ability to have a deep, bilateral partnership, but also to work together in the region and around the world,”

Moreover America will be looking for a strong friend in Asia for maintaining the balance of power. America is not comfortable with the confrontational relationship with China. America sees a great friend in India to counter more assertive China.

 

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