Business ties, AfPak to be ‘big focus’ of Obama visitOctober 2nd, 2010 - 11:49 am ICT by IANS
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Oct 2 (IANS) The White House expects world economy, bilateral business relationships and Afghanistan and Pakistan situation to be a “big focus” of US President Barack Obama’s visit to India in early November.
“Obviously, I anticipate that the world economy and our bilateral business relationships with India will be an important aspect of that trip,” Obama’s press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Friday.
“And from a security standpoint, obviously Afghanistan and Pakistan and how that is all interrelated in that area of Asia, particularly with India, will be a big focus of what the president discusses with the prime minister (Manmohan Singh) then,” he said.
However, Gibbs could not say whether a permanent seat for India on the United Nations Security Council would come up for discussion.
“I don’t have anything on the Security Council stuff,” he said when asked about India seeking a seat on the international high table in view of its acknowledged status as an emerging global power.
Meanwhile, another senior US official said three cross-cutting themes will illustrate the breadth, depth and promise of India-US partnership as the two sides plan for Obama’s visit “that will mark another seminal milestone in our bilateral relations.”
“First, the visit will illustrate how India’s economic rise has created new opportunities for mutually beneficial economic partnerships between our two knowledge-based economies,” said Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake at the 27th Annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture at San Diego State University, California.
“Second, our education and agricultural collaboration will draw on resources in both countries to help sustain inclusive growth in India and the continued rise of India’s poor into the middle-class, enlarging a market that benefits the world economy, and especially the US
“Third, the visit will underscore the importance we attach to India’s growing leadership in Asia and beyond, and how our partnership will help build global security and prosperity,” he said.
Obama, America’s first African-American president, and a student of “Gandhian” principles of nonviolent social change, “identifies Gandhi’s autobiography, and Taylor Branch’s terrific three-part biography of Dr. Martin Luther King as works that helped shape him,” Blake said.
“That same sentiment helps animate our foreign policy agenda and our strategic partnership with India,” he said.
Noting that Obama had called India America’s “indispensable” partner for the 21st century, Blake said India’s strategic importance to the US reflects several factors including the fact that it’s the world’s second fastest growing economy today and is projected to become the world’s third largest economy in the year 2025.
In remarking on the implications of India’s growth for US business, the White House’s top economic adviser Larry Summers told the US-India Business Council earlier this year that the India of 2040 may well be a nation of “over a billion people in middle-class living standards.”
“Finally, within Asia no other country has the thriving democracy, economic promise, the sheer human capital and the growing record of cooperation with the United States than India has,” he said.
The India-US strategic dialogue had already cemented closer cooperation on education, agriculture, clean energy, counter-terrorism, space exploration, food assistance, and other activities, Blake said. And Obama’s visit “will mark another seminal milestone in our bilateral relations.”
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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