Barack Obama visit to highlight trade ties: US group

Washington, Oct 7 (Calcutta Tube) US President Barack Obama’s decision to start his first State Visit to India with an address to a major business summit in Mumbai highlights his priority to cultivating deeper commercial ties with India, says a leading trade advocacy group.

Arriving in India on Diwali night Nov 5, Obama will attend the Business and Entrepreneurship Summit organised by US-India Business Council (USIBC) in partnership with the US Department of Commerce and Confederation of Indian Industry in the Indian financial capital Nov 6.

The summit will highlight ‘the benefits of export-led American growth being generated by India’s rising economy and purchasing power, the new investment flowing from India revitalising American businesses, and the innovation by next generation entrepreneurs utilising US know-how and technology,’ USIBC said.

‘The fact the president has agreed to address this business summit demonstrates the priority this administration places on creating jobs for America by cultivating deeper commercial ties with India, the world’s largest free-market economy,’ said USIBC President Ron Somers.

‘The commercial focus of this visit will unleash jobs and opportunities that will benefit the American economy at a time when jobs are needed, while providing nurturing collaborations in technology that will ensure inclusive growth in India for decades to come.

‘As only the sixth US President to visit India, and the first to travel there during his first term, President Obama’s aspirations for a stronger US-India partnership will help align our two great democracies to shape the economic destiny of the 21st century,’ Somers said.

USIBC said its goal is to enhance two-way trade, now surpassing $50 billion, spur investment by India into the US, create opportunities for greater US export-led growth of high technology and high-end manufactured goods that will support India’s $1.7 trillion infrastructure build-out, and foster new frontiers of technology collaboration.

‘The scope for cooperation on every level by our companies and their Indian counterparts is limitless,’ said Somers. ‘Our aim is to organise a business summit that highlights these opportunities for American companies, and which results in new business partnerships and collaborations.’

Obama will also make a day trip to Amritsar Nov 7 before he touches New Delhi for a formal ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He is expected to address a joint session of parliament Nov 8 before leaving for Indonesia on the second leg of his four-country tour.

First Lady Michelle Obama is expected to accompany him on at least the first leg of his tour to India. But their children, Malia and Sasha, are likely to stay at home because they have school.

Obama will be the sixth American President to visit India after Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George Bush.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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