Obama's Asia trip: Business,fight against terrorism

Maxence Melo

JF Founder
Feb 10, 2006

U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Mumbai on Saturday for the start of his four-nation, 10-day tour through Asia

Mumbai is India's financial hub, and talks on business and trade were expected to be a focus of his three days here. Hundreds of American business leaders and chief executives traveled to Mumbai with the president.

First, though, Obama planned to meet with some of the survivors of the terrorist attacks of November 2008 that left 164 people dead in Mumbai.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, are staying at the Taj Mahal hotel, which came under siege during the attacks.

His planned commemoration of those attacks during his first event here underlines the importance that the U.S. is placing on boosting collaboration in dealing with terrorism believed to be centered in the region across India's western borders, analysts say.

"Obama's Mumbai visit is symbolic of the perspective India and the United States share on terrorism. It should lead to strengthening of counterterrorism efforts," said V.P. Malik, India's former army chief.
Obama goes to Mumbai

The 2008 attacks, blamed on Pakistani-based militants, derailed a fragile peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Under U.S. pressure, the two nuclear-capable states held talks this year in an attempt to resume their fully fledged dialogue, but progress has been slow.

Apart from their bitter dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, India and Pakistan have also been wary of each other's roles in Afghanistan.

Involved mainly in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, India suspects the Afghan-Pakistani terrain has become a platform for terrorist outfits to collaborate against New Delhi's interests.

After winning a non-permanent slot at the U.N. Security Council in October, India identified the "troubled neighborhood" to its west as a priority area to work on.

India believes a solution to the Afghan crisis lies in building strong democratic and security capabilities in the war-ravaged country.

"Gains of the last nine years stand to be squandered if this aspect does not receive the attention that it deserves as the international community ponders its next steps regarding Afghanistan," the external affairs minister, S.M. Krishna, said at a conference in Kabul in July.

Analysts see the United States and India diverging over Obama's Afghan policy, especially the administration's transition plans from July 2011.

"India's perspective is different and it's a longer-term perspective," said Malik. "An early exit of U.S. and allied troops from Afghanistan -- before democratic and military institutions are firmly in place -- would only lead to a new round of instability in that country."

Obama's three-day visit to India, Asia's third largest economy and one of the world's few growth markets, also includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi and addressing the nation's parliament.

"The simple truth is that India's rise, and its strength and progress on the global stage, is deeply in the strategic interest of the United States," said William Burns, under-secretary at the U.S. State Department, during a briefing on Obama's trip.

Obama's visit can also help balance regional geopolitics in the face of what is now seen as an increasingly assertive China, said Uday Bhaskar, director of the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi.

The Chinese and Indian prime ministers met in October in a bid to ease growing tensions despite flourishing trade between the two neighbors.

China's support to Pakistan, India's accommodation of the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, and a decades-old border dispute between the two sides are points of friction as the economic powerhouses jockey for influence in the region.

After India, Obama travels to Indonesia, then on to the G-20 meeting in South Korea and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) in Japan.
Obama kama Kiongozi wa Taifa kubwa Marekani, kwa sasa anapita katika Changamoto kubwa hasa ukizingatia kiwango cha Ukosefu wa Ajira (Unemployment) kimekua kikubwa kuliko wakati mwingine wowote kupata kutokea nchini humo.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama depart the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010, for a short helicopter flight to Andrews Air Force Base, then on to India for a ten-day trip abroad.



President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk with Air Force Col. Ken Rizer, commander of Andrews Air Force Base, and his wife Cheri Rizer, on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.





President Obama Announces $10 Billion in Trade Deals Supporting 50,000 US Jobs.


MUMBAI, India - President Barack Obama announced a host of new trade deals with India supporting tens of thousands of U.S. jobs Saturday as he began a 10-day trip through Asia on a determinedly domestic note.

Intent on demonstrating his attention to the sluggish U.S. economy even while overseas, Obama also told a meeting of U.S. and Indian executives that the U.S. would relax some export regulations that have complicated trade between America and this fast-growing country of 1.2 billion people.

"As we look to India today, the United States sees the opportunity to sell our exports in one of the fastest growing markets in the world. In America this is a jobs strategy," the president said in a speech to the U.S.-India Business Council.

Obama said it should be a "win-win" relationship, but in a nod to U.S. sensibilities he also acknowledged concerns in the U.S. about outsourcing.

"There still exists a caricature of India as a land of call centers," the president said.

He said people in India also are concerned about the impact of U.S. goods coming into their country, but contended that growing trade could only benefit both sides in the long run. He said he sees huge untapped potential in the relationship, noting that India doesn't even rank among America's top 10 trading partners.

"There is no reason this nation can't be one of our top trading partners," the president said.

To that end he said the U.S. would put forward a package of reforms on export controls that resulted from past administrations' concerns about India's nuclear industry. The changes, which have been much sought-after in the business community, include relaxing controls on India's purchase of so-called "dual use" technologies that could be used for civilian or military purposes, and removing a few of the last remaining Indian companies on a so-called "entities list" of groups that face restrictions on doing business in the U.S.

The commercial deals include the purchase of 33 737s from Boeing by India's SpiceJet Airlines; the Indian military's plans to buy aircraft engines from General Electric; and preliminary agreement between Boeing and the Indian Air Force on the purchase of 10 C17s.

For the most part, the deals were already pending, but the White House contends Obama's visit to India helped finalize them. Officials said the deals would support 53,670 U.S. jobs, but it was not clear how many, if any, new jobs would be created as a result.

Obama addressed the business leaders shortly after arriving in Mumbai, where his first stop was at the Taj Mahal hotel to commemorate the 2008 terror attacks that killed 166 people across the city. The president said he intended to send a signal by making Mumbai the first stop of the trip and by staying at the Taj, which was a target during the terror siege.

"The United States and India stand united," he said.
"We'll never forget.

But illustrating the difficulties of the U.S.-India relationship, Indian commentators quickly seized on the president's failure in his spoken remarks to mention Pakistan. Pakistan was the home of the 10 assailants, the place where they trained and the base they used to launch the attack.

Pakistan is also India's archrival – but a linchpin for Washington and its allies in the war in Afghanistan.

After his remarks on the terror attacks, Obama visited a museum in a home where Mohandas Gandhi once lived.

The president is aware of sometimes being perceived as antibusiness in corporate America, and said after the elections last week that he wanted to change that perception. Much of Obama's day Saturday appeared geared toward that goal.

Before speaking to the U.S.-India Business Council, Obama met with CEOs. Reporters looked on as he again tied his mission to U.S. job creation and proclaimed the importance of working with fast-growing economies.

The White House also arranged for four American chief executives who are in India for the occasion to brief reporters traveling with the president. They talked up the importance of India as a trading partner and praised Obama's decision to come to the country to underscore that point in person.

"India represents the 14th-largest trading partner of the United States. Why? With all of the opportunity, it should be so much bigger," said Terry McGraw, chairman and chief executive of the McGraw-Hill Companies.

Obama was spending three days in India, his longest stretch yet in one country, a point U.S. officials have been careful to emphasize as they play up the administration's interest in nurturing the relationship. On Sunday he heads to New Delhi, the capital, where he will address the parliament.

After India, Obama is scheduled to travel to Indonesia, where he lived for four years as a youth. From there he goes to South Korea for a meeting of the Group of 20 developed and developing nations and then to Japan for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, before returning to Washington on Nov. 14, a day before the start of Congress' lame-duck session.
Associated Press writer Ravi Nessman in New Delhi and AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller in Mumbai contributed to this report.

Obama India Trip: President Announces $10 Billion In Trade Deals Supporting 50,000 U.S. Jobs

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visit the memorial for the Nov. 26, 2008 terror attack victims at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel in Mumbai, India.




U.S. President Barack Obama signs the guest book as he visits the memorial for the Nov. 26, 2008 terror attack victims at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel in Mumbai, India.

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama make a statement after their visit the Taj Mahal Palace memorial.



U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visit Mani Bhavan, the Gandhi Museum, in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010
AP – U.S. President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with students during a visit to St. Xavier College in …

By RAVI NESSMAN, Associated Press Writer Ravi Nessman, Associated Press Writer – Sun Nov 7, 1:04 pm ET
NEW DELHI – appealed Sunday for India and Pakistan to resolve their conflict through dialogue, saying that regional instability will only serve to distract India in its rise as a global economic power.

Answering questions at a town hall meeting at St. Xavier College in Mumbai, Obama expressed support for two strong U.S. allies that see each other as archrivals.
Pakistan is an important partner in the , while Obama has called India a vital economic

partner and expressed hopes its roaring economy can help create jobs back in the United States.
But mainly Hindu India and largely — both of which developed nuclear weapons as a

deterrent against the other — have fought three wars with each other since they gained independence from Britain in 1947 and they remain deeply suspicious of each other's motives.

Indian officials have accused of helping orchestrate the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, while Pakistan sees Indian ties to Afghanistan as an attempt to encircle it.
But with Pakistan reeling from extremist attacks, Obama said India had the biggest stake in seeing Pakistan succeed, stabilize and prosper.

"It is absolutely in your interests, at a time when you're starting to succeed in incredible ways on the global economic stage, that you (don't) want the distraction of security instability in your region," he said. "So my hope is that over time trust develops between

the two countries, that dialogue begins — perhaps on less controversial issues, building up to more controversial issues."
India broke off talks with Pakistan after the November 2008 attacks in In recent months

top foreign ministry officials from both nations have met repeatedly to try to break the ice, though India has ruled out restarting full-scale peace talks until the Pakistanis responsible for the attacks are punished.

Pakistani opposition politician Mushahid Hussain Sayed was quoted by the as saying that Obama's message supported Pakistan's own call for resuming talks.
Obama also welcomed Indian investment in Afghanistan, saying all the countries in the region are going to need to help bring peace to Afghanistan.
"We don't think we can do this alone," he said.

Source: Obama calls for India-Pakistan talks - Yahoo! News
Indonesia's pious information minister, Tifatul Sembiring, is in hot water for touching the hand of First Lady http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upsho...nservative-indonesian-muslim-raises-eyebrows#, in what he describes as forced contact. The politician flaunts his conservatism as a Muslim and claims to avoid touching women who aren't family members, the Associated Press reports.
Indonesia -- which has the world's largest Islamic population, the vast majority moderate -- had been debating how to handle encounters between the first lady and observant Muslim officials far in advance of the Obamas' arrival in the country Monday.
[Video: Obamas bring their dance moves to India]
Sembiring sought to deflect criticism by claiming Tuesday's skin-to-skin contact was all Michelle Obama's fault. "I tried to prevent [being touched] with my hands but Mrs. Michelle held her hands too far toward me [so] we touched,"explained on his Twitter page (according to a translation provided in the AP report).
Some local observers laughed at that idea, and one female reporter gleefully said he wouldn't be able to avoid shaking her hand anymore, AP reported.
Video of the moment does seem to contradict Sembiring's characterization of the encounter -- but you be the judge. The video is below:

Sembiring was part of a group of Indonesian dignitaries who greeted the Obamas in a receiving line when they arrived in Jakarta.
Most Indonesian Muslims hew to more moderate versions of the faith that permit casual contact between the sexes. As a result, some Indonesians have assailed Sembiring's rationale for the handshake, suggesting that it's an example of conservative Muslim hypocrisy to excuse the sort of conduct that he readily castigates in others. The minister has blamed natural disasters on moral failings and has joked about AIDS, the Associated Press reports.
Regional handshake kerfuffle aside, the visit is a big deal in Indonesia, where President Obama spent much of his childhood. According to the Associated Press, "Indonesians gathered around television sets across the country to watch the American president touch down. Children at the school he attended practiced a song dedicated to him just in case he visited."
[Related: Threat to pull Obama from India talks after press dispute]
In public statements, Obama has likewise stressed the importance of the visit for him.
"It's wonderful to be here, although I have to tell you that when you visit a place that you spent time in as a child as the president, it's a little disorientating," he told reporters Tuesday morning.
The president and first lady will spend roughly 24 hours in the country, hoping to improve ties with the Muslim world and open up opportunities for American businesses.
Click image to see photos of Michelle Obama touring India and Indonesia

AP/Adi Weda​

But Obama definitely appears to have his work cut out for him. Over the past several days, the presidential visit has sparked widespread protests from Muslims in the region.
[Related: Obama makes long-awaited return to Indonesia]
"We don't see the differences between http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upsho...nservative-indonesian-muslim-raises-eyebrows# -- they both oppress Muslims, they both have blood on their hands," Ismail Yusanto, a spokesman for a Muslim group in Indonesia, told CNN. "That's why we reject Obama, and we don't believe that he's reaching out to Muslims."
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upsho...onservative-indonesian-muslim-raises-eyebrows
President Obama, stepping into an Israeli-Palestinian dispute during a homecoming visit to the world's largest Muslim majority nation, criticized...
By The Associated Press and The Washington Post


JAKARTA, Indonesia — President Obama, stepping into an Israeli-Palestinian dispute during a homecoming visit to the world's largest Muslim majority nation, criticized Israel on Tuesday for its decision to advance the approval of some 1,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem during a sensitive time in the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Obama arrived here Tuesday from India on a long-awaited visit that was cut a few hours short so the president could avoid a cloud of volcanic ash from the eruptions of Mount Merapi.
In an address to University of Indonesia students in the country where he spent four years of his childhood, Obama was greeted with thunderous cheering when he opened with a traditional Muslim greeting "salaam aleikum" and used Indonesian phrases. Obama took office pledging a "new beginning" in relations with Muslims, and he traveled to Cairo less than six months after becoming president to make his first high-profile speech to the Islamic world. But many Muslims have been disappointed by his inability to push Israel and the Palestinians toward peace and have watched uneasily as he escalated the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
A reminder of that difficult road was waiting for Obama when he landed here Tuesday on a steamy afternoon in Southeast Asia. Israel's decision to build more apartments in east Jerusalem, a disputed territory claimed by Palestinians, earned a rebuke from Obama.
"This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations," Obama said when questioned at a news conference alongside Indonesia's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Obama by asserting in a statement that "Jerusalem isn't a settlement — Jerusalem is the capital of Israel."
Earlier, Obama visited the Istiqlal Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia. He noted that it was under construction when he lived in Indonesia as a boy from 1967 to 1971.
Seeking to cement relations with fast-growing Asian trading partners, Obama also paid tribute to the economic dynamism of the region at a time of global financial stress.
"America has a stake in an Indonesia that is growing, with prosperity that is broadly shared among the Indonesian people — because a rising middle class here means new markets for our goods, just as America is a market for yours," he said.
Obama's words came in advance of a meeting of the Group of 20 major economic powers that begins Wednesday evening in Seoul, South Korea. The meeting is expected to be marked by trade tensions between the United States and major exporting nations such as China and Germany
President Obama is trying his best to resolve the World Problems peacefully.however most of people who dont like peace dont like this aproach....Its is time to support him and pray for him
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