Global Politics

Obama wraps up India visit

President Obama's day began with a ceremonial welcome at the residence of the Indian President. A band played both the Indian and American national anthems.

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Mr Obama then met with India's prime minister Manmohan Singh, the two leaders then appeared at a joint news conference. President Obama emphasized the close ties between his country and India.

Obama: �On the commercial level, on the person to person level, the strategic level I think this relationship is extremely important. As I said yesterday I don't think India is emerging, it has emerged. India is a key actor on the world stage.�

And India has a growing middle class with huge buying power. American companies want to tap into that consumer base and so President Obama announced ten billion dollars in business deals during his visit.

The White House hopes these deals will reassure Americans that India offers opportunities of more us jobs to counteract the American jobs lost through outsourcing. In return the President announced the lifting of restrictions on American technology.

Those sanctions were imposed after India conducted nuclear tests in 1998. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh welcomed Mr Obama's move.

Singh: �In my discussions with the President we have decided to accelerate the deepening of our ties and to work as equal partners in a strategic relationship that will positively and decisively influence world peace, stability and progress�.

Another area of interest for the US and India is the fight against terrorism. India has been pushing America to condemn Pakistan for exporting terror to India. President Obama told a joint session of parliament that his administration is tackling the problem.

Obama: �we have worked with the Pakistan government to address the threat of terrorist networks in the border region and we will continue to insist to Pak leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders are unacceptable and that terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks must be brought to justice�.�clapping

The highlight of the speech for many Indians was President Obama's support for India's bid for a permanent place on the UN Security Council. India has been lobbying for a permanent seat for years.

Still, some groups who used the occasion of the Obama visit to stage protests. These demonstrators complained that the president looks at India and sees only a commercial market place. A larger demonstration featured survivors of one of the worst industrial accidents in history. Tons of toxic gas escaped from a union carbide plant in Bhopal in 1984. The final death toll was estimated at 3,800.

Union Carbide has since been sold to Dow Chemical. Satinath Sarangi heads the Bhopal Group for Information and Action: he says the people of Bhopal are still suffering.

Sarangi: �We want positive action from President Obama on the continuing disasters in Bhopal, caused by two American corporations, Union Carbide and Dow Chemical. We want to tell him that because he is promoting American corporate interests in this country, he is morally responsible to also ensure that American corporations like Union Carbide and Dow chemical do not run away from Indian courts.�

President Obama departs early tomorrow for Indonesia, where he spent four years as a boy. From there it's on to South Korea and Japan.

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