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Obama in India, says US supports India’s rise
Mumba/New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS/AGENCIES):
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Published on 7 Nov. 2010 12:15 AM IST
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“Ties with India constitute a defining and indispensable partnership”
US President Barack Obama Saturday said ties with India constitute a "defining and indispensable" partnership of this century that cannot be wished away and asked businesses from the two sides to look at each other as partners and not threats.
"We not only welcome India's rise, but we ardently support it, as we live in an inter-connected world. Commerce between America and India will benefit both," the president told a business summit at Oberoi's Trident Hotel here on the first day of his maiden four-day visit to India, his longest to any country.
"I believe the relationship between United States and India will be one of the defining and Indispensable partnerships of the 21st century," he said, as some 400 top executives and business leaders from the two sides listened with interest.
"Economic relations between our countries still has enormous untapped potential. All the goods that India imports less than 10 percent comes from US and all that the US exports, less than 2 percent goes to India," he said.
"Americans have helped build India and India has helped to build America," he said in a speech, that received at wide applause at least five times, ending with a standing ovation after his 25-minute address.
Obama, who made passing reference to the Congressional election where the Democrats lost control in the House of Representatives to rival Republicans, told his audience back home that Americans stood to "benefit from strengthening ties with India".
Both Democrats and Republicans support the growing partnership with India, though a section of Republicans have criticized the Obama visit for the expense factor.
Ahead of Obama's speech, the US side unveiled commercial deals worth over $15 billion that will also address the domestic constituency by supporting nearly 54,000 jobs in the US.
The deals include the purchase of as many as 33 Boeing-737 aircraft by the Indian budget carrier SpiceJet and an order on General Electric to supply 414 engines to power India's indigenous light combat aircraft, knowledgable sources here said.
The US side also eased export control norms on some Indian defence firms.
These entities could include the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and guided weapons maker Bharat Dynamics, all of which are state-run agencies, officials said ahead of the business meeting.
Punish 26/11 attackers
US President Barack Obama today said his decision to stay in Taj Hotel is a powerful message against terrorism and demanded that the perpetrators of the horrific Mumbai attacks should be brought to justice.
Beginning his three-day maiden visit to India by paying homage to the victims of 26/11 attacks, he said he was looking forward to deepening partnership in counter-terrorism during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Accompanied by his wife Michelle, he signed the visitors' book, looked at the plaque on which the names of 26/11 victims are engraved and delivered a six-minute speech in which he paid tributes to people of Mumbai and India hailing their resolve and resilience.
Obama said his visit to Mumbai was a "clear message that our determination to give to our people future of security and prosperity, the US and India stand united."
"We today, US and India are working together, more closely than ever to deepening counter-terrorism (cooperation), to keep our people safe," he said, adding the two countries have been sharing intelligence to avoiding more
In this context, he said he was looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi to deepening cooperation in counter-terrorism.
$10 billion deals signed
Obama today announced that "several landmark" deals worth $10 billion (nearly Rs. 44,000 crore) have been reached between the two countries for creating about 50,000 jobs in the US.
"There is no reason why India cannot be our top trading partner (from 12th position now)... I'm absolutely sure that the relationship between India and the US is going to be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century," President Obama said addressing the US India Business Council meet. Obama said, "...there still exists a caricature of India as land of call centres and back offices that costs American jobs. That's a real perception.
There are many Americans whose only experience with trade and globalisation has been shuttered factories or jobs being shift overseas." The US accounts for about 60 per cent of India's about $60 billion IT and IT-enabled services exports. But the reality, President Obama said, was that jobs were being created in both the countries and said India was emerging as one of the fastest markets in the world with one of the largest workforce.
"Increase in trade and commerce was a win-win proposition for both the nations," Obama said.
Membership for NSG
The US could back India's membership of the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG.
In a statement, Mike Froman, the Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs says, "...the United States will support India's full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes. These are the Nuclear Suppliers Group; what's called the MTCR regime -- the Missile Technology Control Regime; the Australian Group; and the Wassanaar Arrangement."
Shutdown in Kashmir
In the backdrop of US president Barack Obama’s India visit, a shutdown sponsored by the Kashmiri separatist group Hurriyat Conference disrupted normal life in Kashmir valley on Saturday. Two people died in an accident when protesters enforcing shutdown pelted stones at vehicles in south Kashmir’s Shopian area.
Michelle dances with Mumbai students
When US President Barack Obama was talking serious business with industry honchos this evening, his wife Michelle interacted with differently-abled children at the library of Mumbai University and danced with them to the tunes of a hit number from Aaamir Khan-starrer “Rang De Basanti”.
“Working hard, studying and having courage are the important things in life. I also studied hard in my life. I never thought I will become the first lady. But when I got a chance, I was prepared for it because of education. (PTI)

 
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