India is first stop on Obama’s Asia trip
AAP staff report
Washington, D.C. (November 7, 2010) – The White House Office of the Press Secretary reported on President Barack Obama’s visit to India last week, the first, and longest stop of his Asia trip that also included Indonesia, Japan and Korea for the G20 Summit. While in India, Obama spoke at universities, trade and CEO summits and held high level talks and signed executive agreements with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. The tow held a joint press conference on November 8, from the Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India.
Singh called Obama a personal friend and great charismatic leader who has made a deep imprint on world affairs through his inclusive vision of peace, security and welfare for all peoples and all nations.
“The President and the First Lady have made an abiding impression on the people of India with their warmth, with their grace, and with their commitment to promoting the relationship between our two great democracies,” said Singh.
He agreed with Obama in characterizing the India-U.S. partnership as one of the defining and indispensable partnerships of the 21st century. He said the two decided to accelerate the deepening of ties and work as equal partners in a strategic relationship to influence world peace, stability and progress.
“We welcome the decision by the United States to lift control from exports of high-technology items and the technologies to India, and support India’s membership in multilateral export control regimes such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” he added. “This is a manifestation of the growing trust and confidence in each other.”
The two agreed on steps to expand cooperation in space, civil nuclear defense and initiatives in clean energy, health and agriculture. These include a joint clean energy research and development center, the establishment of a global disease detection center in India, and an agreement for cooperation in weather and crop forecasting.
The U.S. and India will hold a higher education summit next year to explore cooperation in building the knowledge economy of the future.
President Obama said that he and First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to India because he believes the relationship between the two countries is indispensable to addressing the challenges of our time. He said the relationship is crucial to creating economic opportunity, confronting terrorism and violent extremism; preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and addressing climate change.
He also emphasized that the world’s two largest democracies continue working on development that gives people and nations a path out of poverty to advancing human rights and values that are universal.
“None of this will be possible without strong cooperation between the United States and India,” said Obama.
Prime Minister Singh and President Obama committed to work together to strengthen the global non-proliferation and export control framework and further transform bilateral export control cooperation to realize the full potential of the strategic partnership between the two countries.
The two agreed to scale-up joint U.S.-India civil space collaboration, including space exploration, earth observation, and scientific education.
The United States is the world’s largest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment. India is among the fastest growing investor in the United States. As the U.S.-India economic relationship deepens, investment from India contribute to the growth and vibrancy of the American economy and in the creation of jobs in the United States.
Over the last decade, investment capital from India grew at an annualized rate of 53 percent reaching an estimated $4.4 billion in 2009. This growing flow of capital from India reflects the increased integration of the two economies and has brought many benefits to the United States, increasing U.S. exports and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the last six years alone.
The President also spoke at the U.S. – India Business Council and Entrepreneurship Summit on November 6, at the Trident Nariman Point Hotel in Mumbai, India. He spoke to the interconnectedness of the two countries, commenting on deals that have led to American commercial and cargo aircraft, General Electric, and even Harley Davidson motorcycles.
In return, Indian investments in the United States is credited with leading to more than 50,000 new jobs for Americans.
“Now, despite all this progress, the economic relationship between the United States and India is still one of enormous untapped potential,” said Obama. “Of all the goods that India imports, less than 10 percent come from the United States.”
He said that India and the other G20 partners must resist protectionism that has plunged the global economy deeper into recession.
The President spoke at a meeting with CEOs later that same day. He remarked that it was important to hold the event at the Trident Nariman Point Hotel in Mumbai, to send a message to the terrorists that attacked the building two years ago, that they will not destroy the “incredible energy and drive and entrepreneurial spirit that exists here.”
On his first day in office, President Obama signed the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, calling for unprecedented transparency, participation, and collaboration as a hallmark of his Administration. Similarly, in 2005, India enacted the Right to Information Act, adopting a national commitment to openness as a means to make government more effective and accountable.
The Expo for Democracy and Open Government highlighted key Indian innovations that strengthen democracy, focusing on the intersection of technology, citizen empowerment, and accountability, and allow participants to interact with civil society innovators/exhibitors to gain a sense of the power of these new technologies and approaches.
The goal of both nations was to emphasize that the democratizing of access to information and energizing civic engagement through the use of new technologies are critical to delivering better services, especially to those at the bottom of the pyramid; fostering greater entrepreneurship and economic opportunity; and holding government officials accountable.
On the margins of the President’s trip, trade transactions were announced or showcased, exceeding $14.9 billion in total value with $9.5 billion in U.S. export content, supporting an estimated 53,670 U.S. jobs. These cross-border collaborations, both public and private, underpin the expanding U.S.-India strategic partnership, contributing to economic growth and development in both countries.
The President attended the Open Government and Technology Exposition on November 7, at St. Xavier College in Mumbai. The First Lady Michelle Obama traveled with the President and also spoke about the “Make A Difference” program to students at the University of Mumbai.
On November 6, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke before the U.S.-India Business and Entrepreneurship Summit, and announced that he would be leading a high-tech trade business development mission to India in February 2011, with stops in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.
Locke remarked on the potential for a bilateral clean energy partnership, as well as the opportunities for American companies to help meet India’s healthcare and infrastructure needs. His second trade mission, Locke, said it will highlight export opportunities for U.S. businesses in a broad range of advanced industrial sectors, including civil-nuclear trade, defense and security, civil aviation and information and communication.
“Exports are leading the U.S. economic recovery, spurring future economic growth and creating jobs in America,” Locke said. “Increasing trade between the U.S. and India will help drive innovation and create jobs in both countries. As trading partners, U.S. companies can help India meet the ambitious economic and social goals laid out by its government, while the Indian market holds enormous potential for U.S. exporters.”