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India PM to talk trade with Obama in September visit
August 21, 2013, 5:22 am

Indo-US trade has increased five-fold to touch $100 billion in last 13 years [AP]

Indo-US trade has increased five-fold to touch $100 billion in last 13 years [AP]

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet US President Barack Obama at the White House on September 27 to hold talks on trade, investment and regional security, said a US official statement on Tuesday.

Singh will also attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Obama had visited India in November 2010 and announced trade deals with the Asian nation worth $10 billion.

The American leader has called the relationship between the US and India as one of the “defining and indispensable partnerships of the 21st Century”.

During a meeting with top Indian leaders, US Vice President Joe Biden referred to Obama’s statements while trying to gather Indian support for the US ‘rebalancing’ strategy in Asia.

In an official statement released prior to the vice president’s visit, he outlined the need for India to be made a partner in that pursuit.

“Twenty, even 10 years ago, some might have suggested that India be left out of discussions about the Asia-Pacific.  One of the reasons why President Obama called our relationship with India “a defining partnership of the century ahead” is that India is increasingly looking east as a force for security and growth in Southeast Asia and beyond,” said Biden.

Bilateral ties between the two biggest democracies have been traditionally defined by trade.

Indo-US trade has increased five-fold to touch $100 billion in last 13 years.

However, US business firms have recently raised concerns about the Indian economy and the challenges of working in a fluctuating policy environment.

More than 40 American business organisations in July wrote a letter to the US vice president alleging India imposes regulations that restrict US industries’ ability to compete against the country’s unfair advantage.

India has also recently raised concerns about the US Immigration Bill, and the situation in Afghanistan, with US authorities.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma expressed India’s dissatisfaction with the proposed US Immigration Reforms Bill during his recent visit to the United States. The bill could adversely hit the country’s $100 billion domestic IT industry.

The proposed bill seeks several changes including higher visa costs and companies with more than 50 per cent of their workforce made up of H-1B visa holders will be banned from bringing in any additional workers from 2016.

The bill has already been passed by the US Senate but is pending before Congress which is currently in recess.

The US Senate also recently criticised the ‘localisation drive’ under which India has stressed on technology transfer and local sourcing in return for access to its growing markets.

Meanwhile, India’s Finance Minister on a four-day US trip to attend the annual leadership summit of the US-India Business Council stressed on the need for US firms to set up local manufacturing bases in the Asian country.

India is also especially keen to understand the US strategy in Afghanistan after a withdrawal of its forces set for next year.

India’s anxiety over the role the Taliban could play in Afghanistan, where India has made significant investments over the last couple of years, is likely to be discussed during Singh’s meet with Obama.


 The BRICS Post