Obama pushes to strengthen ties with India
New Delhi, India (CNN) — President Obama and family are on a crusade to improve relations with several Asian countries. The Obamas landed in India, the first stop on their 10-day Asian tour, Saturday. During a news conference, Obama praised India and the nation’s father, Mahatma Gandhi.
“I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as president of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared and inspired with America and the world,” the president said in his address to the Indian Parliament Monday.
The 2009 Nobel Peace laureate lauded Gandhi and noted his influence on Martin Luther King and the non-violent resistance that typified the American civil rights movement.
The president also talked about America-India relations during a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The 44th president of America described the relationship between India and United States as “stronger, deeper and broader than ever.”
“India isn’t emerging. It has emerged,” the president said, noting that the rise in economic power will open more opportunities for cooperation between the nations. “We make some of the best products in the world and we want to sell them to a growing Indian market,” he added.
Obama, the first African-American president of the United States, also highlights the benefits India will get from the economic exchanges. The US-India economic trades will also provide Indians the opportunity to build their businesses. He cited the solar technology as an example for the potential to create jobs for both countries.
Obama made clear that resorting to protectionist measures should not be the option, noting the presence of a “growing trust” between the two largest democracies in the world, as they work to boost trade. “We shouldn’t be thinking of it as a one-way street,” he said.
Meanwhile, Singh also made sure that India is not in the business of stealing jobs from the United States of America. The broadening economic exchanges with India remains a threat to the American public as jobs are being outsourced. The 78 year old Prime Minister said likewise that the economic ties between the countries is a win-win situation.
Singh also praised American technology, saying that his country should emulate the know-how in the civilian as well as military fields.
Obama unveiled the $10 billion worth of contracts for U.S. exports to India Saturday before heading to New Delhi on Monday. He arrived with first lady Michelle Obama. It was their third and final day visit to India.
The visit was scheduled with a full day events itinerary, starting with a wreath-laying at a memorial for Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi and trailing off with a state dinner with Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Pati.
Like any other state visits, Obama’s trip to India was met with some criticism. Several locals expressed doubt and skepticism, saying the visit is a subtle way to “brainwash” the government. Similarly, some Americans did not approve of the expanding trade relations between the two countries.
After India, Obama heads to Indonesia, South Korea for the G-20 meeting, and Japan for the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit.