Obama’s first trade mission to India is on solar power

March 23rd, 2009 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) The new administration of US President Barack Obama has sent its first trade mission to India, and it’s on solar energy. “It shows how energy is becoming the focal point in the US-India relationship,” a US government official said here Monday.
William Zarit, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for international operations in the US government, and the leader of the mission, also said “a new emphasis on solar and (other) renewable energy technologies is taking that relationship to new heights”.

Apart from bureaucrats, the mission has representatives from 14 US companies. It started its work Monday by meeting Indian policymakers, industry groups and potential partners, Zarit told reporters.

In the next two days, the delegates will travel to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Carmine D’Aloisi, minister-counsellor for commercial affairs at the US embassy here, described the two states as the “Saudi Arabia of solar energy”.

These two states were ahead of others in seeking proposals to develop solar power, D’Aloisi said, adding that the US firms were looking at investments, licensing of technologies and export of equipment.

Potential Indian partners seeking financing in these tough times can use a loan guarantee from the US Export-Import Bank, which has got a special 15-year loan scheme for renewable energy development, said Diane G. Farrell, member of the bank’s board of directors.

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