Obama flies to India, looking to boost US economy
MUMBAI, India – President Barack Obama hasn’t been able to drive down unemployment in America, so he’s coming to India in search of U.S. jobs.
Four days after his party suffered heavy, economy-influenced losses in Congress, the president will arrive Saturday in Mumbai, India’s booming financial center, where he will meet with local business leaders and with American executives who have traveled to India in search of billions of dollars in trade deals.
The White House hopes to announce agreements on aircraft and other exports, and generally broadcast that America is open for business with burgeoning India and its 1.2 billion residents.
The administration says that jobs and the U.S. economy are the focus of Obama’s 10-day Asia trip, a message aimed at inoculating him against any criticism that he is concentrating on foreign affairs while Americans are suffering with unemployment at 9.6 percent. He left Washington shortly after the government reported the economy added 151,000 jobs in October but still not enough to lower the jobless rate.
The president said the jobs report was encouraging but “not good enough.” In a gesture toward Republicans who won control of the House and made strong gains in the Senate in elections Tuesday, Obama said he was open to “any idea, any proposal” to get the economy growing faster.
On his foreign trip, the longest of his presidency so far, Obama’s business-first message is aimed particularly at India, where he is spending three full days. That’s the longest amount of time in any one country on a trip that’s also taking him to Indonesia, where he lived for four years as a youth, to South Korea for a meeting of the Group of 20 developed and developing nations and then to Japan for an American Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
In an op-ed published Saturday in The New York Times, Obama sought to underscore the importance of foreign trade to U.S. prosperity.
“It can be tempting, in times of economic difficulty, to turn inward, away from trade and commerce with other nations. But in our interconnected world, that is not a path to growth, and that is not a path to jobs,” the president wrote. “We cannot be shut out of these markets.”
The president also wrote that he would work while in South Korea to complete a free trade pact that has long been stalled in Congress over concerns, mostly from Democratic lawmakers, about terms for imports of U.S. autos into Korea, among other things.
White House officials aren’t sounding too optimistic about a breakthrough on the trade pact while Obama’s in South Korea, and the president — who as a candidate criticized the deal — emphasized that “any agreement must come with the right terms. That’s why we’ll be looking to resolve outstanding issues on behalf of American exporters — including American automakers and workers.”
Obama will be speaking to a gathering of Indian and American chief executives on Saturday in Mumbai, and he’s expected to announce the completion of job-producing commercial deals. The U.S. has been looking for India to finalize purchases of Boeing aircraft and marine engines produced by Caterpillar, among other exports.
Briefing reporters aboard Air Force One, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said Obama intends the trip to be “a full embrace of India’s rise.” The White House is going to great lengths to bring attention to the economic potential and shared democratic values that define its relationship with India.
Said Donilon: “There’s no more powerful way to do that than a presidential trip.”
However, serious disagreements remain, and they appear unlikely to be resolved during Obama’s visit.
India has raised concerns about the billions of dollars in military aid the U.S. is funneling to Pakistan, which is India’s archrival but a linchpin for Washington and its allies in the war in Afghanistan. Leaders here also are wary of the increasing rhetoric by U.S. politicians against the outsourcing of jobs abroad, including to India.
Obama was spending more than 15 hours on his plane, interrupted by a refueling stop in Germany, to get to India.
He will spend about a day and a half in Mumbai before heading to New Delhi, the capital, for meetings with government leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Obama also is taking time while in India to visit cultural sites, including a museum in a home where Mohandas Gandhi once lived, and to pay respect to the victims of the 2008 terror attacks that left 166 people dead across Mumbai. Obama and his entourage are staying at the Taj Mahal hotel, one of the main targets of the attacks.
Associated Press writer Ravi Nessman in New Delhi, India and AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller, traveling with Obama, contributed to this story.
Dissapointed that no US President has ever set foot on illustriuos Sri Lanka. Aren’t we the only svereign nation in the world to eradicate tamil terrorism? Something that the US and its allies have been trying hard for the past decade or so? We as nation under the great leader HE Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brothers completely wiped off the tamil terroist movement which is banned by more countries than Al-Quida?
Our forces led by young men and women from the south achieved what the Coalition of the Willing has not been able to achieve? Are the remnants of terrorist tamils, bootlicking the whites for an existence in the west, so powerful to keep President Obarma away from our emerald isle?
The tamils are all the same; it doesn’t matter what they do or where they live, they have blood in their hearts. I was shocked beyond belief when a leading Sri Lanka sportsman of international stature belonging to the Tamil community referring to HE Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government as communist and as a government responsible large scale violence against the community specially women. This guy also goes on to narrate incidents where marauding sinhala civilians burnt his father’s house and biscuit factory. They are all the same, tamils, wherever they are and whatever they do, they have blood in their minds.
With the help of socially conscious countries such as China and Libya, HE Mahinda Rajapaksa should without further ado, embark on a land reform program in the North, East and Central Provinces to return all land illegally occupied by Tamils to the Sinhala peasantry.
Russia and China are supperpowers with USA. Britain and France, though Nuclear powers and members of the Security Council, are no longer Super Powers. Britain is no longer even a naval power it used to be. While the power of USA is waning the power of China is rising to be even a hyperpower.
India is a nuclesar power with Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. India is a rising superpower and may one day be a permanent member of the UN Security Council. US President is on official visit to India in recognition of this and for vested interests. USA is in economic doldrums today. The huge expense of its invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan is costing it dearly in man and material and economically. Its a drain on its federal reserves. There is huge unemployment. USA is therefore wooing further economic ties with India. It is wooing mega-rich Indian businesses to open businesses in USA to provide employment for its workforce, to reduce unemployment in USA. Obama administration lost its mid-term elections due to public discontent with the Obama administration. It has failed to deliver on its promises. Already US forces deploy their navy in Indian ocean in joint exercises with Indian forces. This is to to combat growing presence of China in SE Asia, especially in SL with its massive aid. Chinese President is the top leader in the world today knocking US President to second place. This has unnerved USA. USA has a mighty destructive power but it is no match to China today in manpower as well as military power.
USA has always tried to dominate small nations like us. It has imperial ambitions. It looks down upon us. US President will therefore not visit us now or in the future. We have no use for them except as a strategic base. USA fears China may use SL as a strategic base one day, with building of the Hambanthota harbour. If large scale off shore oil is found in SL, USA may try to woo SL also as it has Saudi Arabia which is in its pockets. US industry depends on oil. Its own oil stocks are dwindling. There are huge oil and gas stocks in Russia. Russian economy will therefore grow.
Who cares if US President does not visit SL. Neither has Chinese or Russian President visited us. SL is not a major player in the world yet as India is. We do not want to be under US hegemony. So much the better for us if US keeps out. But I would indeed be happy if Chinese President grace our country one day with an official visit to strengthen its bond with us.
Nicholas, Fully agree with you. I suggest we downgrade our diplomatic relations with the US and European countries. Why should be spend millions of US dollars in keeping HE Jaliya Wickremesuriya in Washington DC?; we should get him back, take him into Parliament and make the External Affirs Minsiter to replace the aging Professor.
Also, why should we have an Ambassador in London when the Tamil Terrorist Remnants are attempting to use antiquated British law to arrest our Leader who was intending to respond to the invitation from the Oxford Union?
SL fought single handedly in eradicating Tamil Terrorism from the face of our emerald isle. The US and Europe only attempted to place roadblocks on the liberation path charted by our great leader, HE Mahinda Rajapaksa and his clan.
We eliminated the deadliest terrorist Tamil outfit in the World, an outfit that was supported by diaspora Terrorist Tamils for 30 long years.
Why cannot the GOSL use the antiquated laws in the UK to get Terrorist Tamils domiciled in the UK, arrested and charged for war crimes against the Sinhala Buddhist population of our Sinhala Buddhist Republic of Sri Lanka?
Dear Guru Sathyadasa, I agree with most of what you say. Though USA and the most European nations have sided with LTTE by giving them refugee status readily, and letting them use their countries to collect funds for terrorist operations and to plan terrorist operations in SL, and also they ignored LTTE criminal acts of murder and fraud in their countries, we still have to be diplomatic in our dealings with these enemies because of their power. MR is responding correctly to these countries. If we break-off ties with these countries we will lose. We have to wean them away from supporting diaspora LTTE directly or indirectly. We have to get them to spend their money by way of aid to help develop our country. We have to develop SL to be top tourist spot in the world so that their citizens visit SL. Tourism is a big income generator.
Norway is our bitter enemy because it supported the LTTE openly and continues to support the diaspora LTTE in Norway. This is because Norway has vested interests and pretends they did not see the LTTE war crimes and crimes against humanity. They claimed LTTE were ‘freedom fighters’. Norway had secret agreements with LTTE to plunder our oil wealth, our thorium stocks (necessary to generate nuclear energy), and our phosphate stocks etc. They planned with LTTE all along to help them capture the whole of the island and not just one-third of the country. Isn’t it time Norway is made to pay for all thier crimes? They are equally guilty of war crimes because they supported the LTTE in their war crimes etc directly and indirectly. Tangible evidence of this was also found by our heroic forces in the LTTE bases when they captured them. Both MR and GR know this. Isn’t it time that our Hon President, instead of going with cap-in-hand to the West for aid, make Norway pay for 30 years of destruction of our economy by the LTTE because they supported LTTE. During the last UN General Assembly meeting, our Hon President should have declined to meet Solheim and Foreign Minister of Norway. He should have declare them as persona non grata for their open support to LTTE. They are deadly vipers. We do not keep as pets deadly vipers. We should have driven the message across to the whole world from the UN premises that Norway is our worst enemy and should be made to pay billions of dollars for their role in ruining our economy.
Isn’t it time we close the Norway High Commission in SL and also withdraw our ambassador in Norway? Isn’t it time we demand through the International Courts billions of dollars in compensation for the ruining our economy by their open support for LTTE? Isn’t it time we bring charges against Solheim et alia before the War Tribunal Court in the Hague for war crimes by supporting the LTTE?
I hope Hon President strikes while the iron is hot. The free world will be delighted to support him. Our people will support him all the way. But first, let us kick the Viking bastards out of SL and recall our ambassador.
GS, please do not play the Sinhala-Buddhist card very much as it would make you open to accusations of Sinhalese nationalism and religious intolerance. As true Buddhists, we should in the spirit of Lord Buddha tolerate other religions and shun racism and extremism. Please don’t take offence that I said this, as religous intolorence and extremism is against my spirt as a Buddhist.
Thanks Nicholas,well said:-)
My friend Guru Sathyadasa talked of socially conscious country China , I do entirely disagree with you, I think you are not inclined towards democracy, rather you like to follow the chinese model of rule.
China is not a democracy as your nation ,It do have a imperial ambition.Yes China is looking forward to use SL as a strategic base one day like they are doing in pakistan, with building of the Hambanthota harbour, so that they can contain other nations .
China is a great human rights violatior ,people are supressed and not allowed to speak there mind, those who dare ,either they are jailed or shoot dead.Take the case of this year’s Nobel peace prize winner, where is he? In jail for long long time. hope you remember tiananmen square protest , how it was suppressed by militry tanks, not by talks as is practiced in democratic countries. Go deeply into the fact how chinese power removed there own people from there land to built olympics village and now the asian games village.do fact finding how peoples vioces are suppressed in border areas, do look into the suppression of tibetian people,they are cunningly altering geo-political space in tibet by bringing in ethinic chinese and settleing them in large numbers in tibetian villages so as to alter the ethenic tibetian population, many of whom have to flee there villages.Gradually these peace loving buddhist tibetian people will not have any land of there own.
Goods produced by china are cheap because people are paid less, who could not dare to ask for more,more over jailed people are made to work more and not paid a penny.these are the factors that chinese goods are flooded in every country as buying them are cheap, which they call compititive rate which no other country can match.In which ever country chinese are putting there stake in, they are investing heavely not because they want to sincerely help you ,but because for there own gain, be it stragtigic interest for them or economic interest for them. they are taking away more than what they are giving , they are worst than any other countries who put in investments.Chinese do help the rouge countries be it north korea,or many coutries in african continent, if you want to have a nuclear bomb, you dont have to invest much your self in R&D, CHINESE are there to help you.
The only superpower USA is not good but the other super power in making China will be worst and had to be feared, As in first case atleast you can negotiate across the table a little bit, but with the second one ,you will be dictated with no recourse of your own.
Kindly do not stoop so low by calling communist China a socially conscious great country,You are loosing respect for your great country by doing so.