Mumbai, Nov 6: It will make headlines back home in the United States, and after his ’shellacking’ in the mid-term polls, Barack Obama could certainly use some good press. And, India Inc seems to be buying into President Obama’s ’win-win’ mantra.
Obama today announced that "several landmark" deals worth $10 billion (nearly Rs. 44,000 crore) have been reached between the two countries for creating about 50,000 jobs in the US.
"There is no reason why India cannot be our top trading partner (from 12th position now)... I’m absolutely sure that the relationship between India and the US is going to be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century," President Obama said addressing the US India Business Council meet. "Boeing is going to sell dozens of planes to India and GE is going to sell hundreds of electric engines. The deals are worth USD 10 billion and will create more than 50,000 jobs in the US," he said.
Just before the address at US-India Business Council (USIBC) in Mumbai, Reliance Power announced a power equipment deal for 2,400 MW plants from GE and low-cost carrier Spicejet announced a deal to buy 33 new-generation 737 aircrafts from Boeing.
Making his visit against the backdrop of electoral reverses on top of economic difficulties, including a high unemployment percentage, 9.6 percent in October. He talked of the perception elsewhere of India being a haven for call centres and American retail giants being feared in India as putting small Indian shopkeepers out of business, and said these are stereotypes and ignored realities.
Obama said, "...there still exists a caricature of India as land of call centres and back offices that costs American jobs. That’s a real perception. There are many Americans whose only experience with trade and globalisation has been shuttered factories or jobs being shift overseas." The US accounts for about 60 per cent of India’s about $60 billion IT and IT-enabled services exports. But the reality, President Obama said, was that jobs were being created in both the countries and said India was emerging as one of the fastest markets in the world with one of the largest workforce.
"Increase in trade and commerce was a win-win proposition for both the nations," Obama said. The US President added, in 2010, trade and investment ties was not just a one-way street, it was a dynamic two-way relationship creating jobs and growth in both the countries.
India-US trade stood at US $36.5 billion in 2009-10 fiscal and the two countries aim to double trade in the next five years. Describing India, which receives about 8 per cent of its total foreign direct investment from the US, as a defining and indispensable partner of the 21st century, President Obama asked India to reduce trade barriers, while committing to reciprocate.
US First lady Mitchelle Obama:
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visit Mani Bhavan, the Gandhi Museum.
PresidentObama and first lady Michelle Obama thank Usha Thakkar, Director of Mani Bhavan, the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai.
When US President Barack was talking serious business with industry honchos this evening, his wife Michelle interacted with street children and orphans at the library of Mumbai University and danced with them to the tunes of a hit number from Aaamir Khan-starrer "Rang De Basanti".
During her half-hour interaction, Michelle spoke to the kids and inspired them to reach greater heights, bringing a touch of compassion and social care to the presidential visit.
"I love dancing," she told the kids. "You are very lucky and blessed. I also have two children," she said.
US First lady Mitchelle Obama greets students and volunteers from the Make A Difference (MAD) NGO, at the Mumbai University campus.