Obama visit: Will the euphoria turn costly to India?

By Binu Paul, SiliconIndia   |   Friday, 29 October 2010, 01:35 Hrs   |    3 Comments
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Obama visit: Will the euphoria turn costly to India?
Bangalore: President Barack Obama's visit will fuel the burgeoning Indo-U.S. relations in many ways. Obama, who has a 'not-so-privileged' African-American background, is said to have a feeling of "some kind of a personal tie" with the extraordinary history of India in the 20th century. However, the economic and business component is highlighted as the main focus of his historic visit to India which will take Indo-U.S. relations to a new trajectory. Many raise their eyebrows and question whether this is going to be a fair deal for both or is Obama going to go back home with more deals in his pocket giving the minimum to India?

India being potentially a very important market for U.S. exports, the president will push for better trade and investment relations. He would take initiatives to clear all the hurdles such as outsourcing controversies to currency war to improve the trade ties with India, which is only the 14th biggest trading partner of U.S. The recent hike in visa fees, which Indians feel is highly discriminatory, might also be a part of the discussion agenda. While India is expected to express its concern over the growing U.S. protectionism after the economic downturn, the U.S. may demand India to open up the stalled important sectors like defence, multi-brand retail and financial sectors to foreign investors.

In an effort to double its export within five years by which it hopes to strengthen the domestic growth as well as to create more jobs, the Obama administration will push for improved bilateral trade in goods and services with India which is at $50 billion at present.

It is obvious that Obama will urge India to open up its massive untapped commercial potential which will benefit both the countries. "India really is one of the most important emerging economic relationships for the United States, both multilaterally and bilaterally. We work very closely with India in the context of the G-20," Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The future of outsourcing will be a hot topic in the discussion forum given the fact that Indian companies are the second largest fastest growing investors in the U.S. supporting about 57,000 jobs. This will pave way for a relatively balanced trade scenario benefiting both the countries.

India stresses the point that loosening the U.S. export controls on high technology and dual-use items will boost up the bilateral ties and will eventually benefit both. "In our view, the removal of export controls on the supply of high technology and dual use items would inspire an even greater degree of confidence in our bilateral relationship and understanding," said Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao as quoted by IANS.

Other than the economic dimension, there would be decisive interactions on topics such as energy, education, infrastructure, aviation, space, defense and biotechnology. Recognizing India's growing global economic clout, the Obama administration is looking at India as its prime strategic partner in the region and in the world and so considers this visit as one of its most important emerging economic bilateral relationships. However, counting on our history of relationship with the U.S., many feel that India should give adequate thoughts and seek experts opinion before signing any deals with the U.S.

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