Tags: obama singh economic ties

Obama, India's Singh Pledge Deeper Economic Ties

Monday, 08 Nov 2010 07:01 AM

U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged to deepen economic and strategic ties even as they signaled differences on how best to improve relations between India and Pakistan.

Obama also indicated he may support India’s bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council when he addresses parliament in New Delhi later today. That step would fulfill Indian hopes of having the U.S. join France and the U.K. in endorsing its candidacy.

Singh and Obama both said they hoped a similar spirit of cooperation would define this week’s Group of 20 nations summit in South Korea where they’ll join world leaders in discussing currency and trade tensions. They told a joint briefing that their two countries have formed a partnership for the 21st century founded on shared interests including education, counterterrorism and nuclear nonproliferation.

“I don’t think India’s emerging, it has emerged,” Obama said. “I am confident that as India’s influence in the world continues to rise, so too will the opportunities for closer cooperation between our two countries.”

Potential flashpoints in what Obama said was “no ordinary relationship” were also on show. Obama reiterated that stronger economic ties are a “win-win” for both countries, while acknowledging that many Americans see the relationship through a more competitive lens with U.S. jobs being outsourced to India.

Obama began his three-day visit by addressing business leaders in Mumbai, where he said recently sealed contracts between the two countries would create 50,000 jobs in the U.S.

Job Creation

When the American people “ask me why are you spending time with India after they have taken our jobs,” Obama said at today’s press conference, “I want to be able to say, actually, you know what, they just created 50,000 jobs and that’s why we shouldn’t be resorting to protectionist measures.”

On Pakistan, a critical U.S. regional ally in the war in Afghanistan, Singh rebuffed Obama’s overture to help facilitate talks to reduce tensions between two nuclear-armed neighbors.

“We are committed to engage Pakistan, we are committed to resolve all outstanding issues between our two countries,” Singh said. “But it is our request that you cannot simultaneously be talking and at the same time the terror machine is as active as ever before,” he said. “Once Pakistan moves away from this terror-induced coercion, we will be very happy to engage productively with Pakistan to resolve our outstanding issues.”

Mumbai Attacks

India blames the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group for the deadly 2008 attack on Mumbai, and has urged the government of President Asif Ali Zardari to dismantle terrorist outfits before India agrees to restart broad peace talks called off in the wake of the assault.

The G-20 gathering takes place as countries around the world weigh the implications of the Federal Reserve’s Nov. 3 decision to inject $600 billion into the U.S. economy by buying Treasuries in a bid to spur growth. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Nov. 5 in Berlin that the Fed was “clueless” and the move wouldn’t work, while Chinese officials said they will monitor the Fed policy’s impact on growth and global confidence.

The U.S. has called on China to boost consumption and let the yuan rise, saying the country’s undervalued currency gives Chinese exporters an unfair advantage. While Obama didn’t mention China specifically, he said he hasn’t seen the kind of global adjustments with respect to currency for more balanced growth patterns.

Trade Imbalances

The U.S. is also hoping to gain international support for a plan to foster smaller trade imbalances and encourage countries to let their currencies trade freely. On trade imbalances and currency issues, Obama praised Indian’s approach saying it “has been part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

Obama also declined to discuss the Fed’s Treasury purchases, restating White House policy to not comment on a independent body’s actions for “institutional” reasons. At the same time, he said he and the central bank shared the same concerns. “The worst thing that could happen to the world economy, not just ours, but the entire world’s economy is if we end up being stuck with no growth or very limited growth,” Obama said. “I think that’s the Fed’s concern and that’s my concern as well.”

Under agreements reached during talks today India and the U.S. will engage in a new homeland security dialogue, and extend cooperation in space and defense, the leaders said. Obama confirmed that the U.S. will remove Indian organizations working in both fields from the “entities list” that bars them from importing technology in punishment for India testing a nuclear device in 1998.

Earlier in the day, Obama received his official welcome ceremony at the presidential palace, where his black limousine was greeted by soldiers on horseback. Later, he paid his respects to Mohandas Gandhi, laying a wreath at Rajghat, the site of the independence leader’s cremation.

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U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged to deepen economic and strategic ties even as they signaled differences on how best to improve relations between India and Pakistan.
obama singh economic ties
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2010-01-08
Monday, 08 Nov 2010 07:01 AM
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