Obama has lavishly concluded his India visit. Lavish in the sense that he gave India what it wanted, of course, only in words again. That has been the strategy of the US presidents for a long time, be it Bushes or Clinton or Obama. Some say it was a business win for the US and a diplomatic win for India, referring to Obama’s speech in Mumbai, the trade capital of India, during a US and India business conference, in which he alleged that his visit would provide a win-win situation,
Business and Jobs for the US
Obama declared he had concluded $10 billion worth business deals that would give nearly 54,000 jobs to Americans. The White House said the US gained deals worth $14.9 billion, some signed and some being discussed. The deals reached are:
- A preliminary agreement was reached that would enable Boeing to sell 10 C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft worth $4.1 billion, $1.7 billion less than the expected figure before Obama’s visit, to the Indian military. The sale will support 22,160 jobs. It was reported there is a possibility of extending the deal to another six C-17s in coming weeks.
- The Indian private airline, SpiceJet, will buy 30 B737-800 planes worth $2.7 billion. This deal will support 12,970 jobs.
- General Electric will sell 107 F-414 fighter engines worth $822 million to the Indian Air Force for its own fighter programme, the LCA Tejas. That deal supports 4,440 jobs in the US.
- One thousand diesel locomotives worth $1 billion will be supplied over the next ten years to India. Two US manufacturers, LaGrange, and Electro-Motive Diesel, and GE transportation will only be allowed to bid for the deal.
- One of India’s wealthiest men, Anil Ambani, and his company, Reliance Power, reached an agreement to buy six heavy duty gas turbines and three steam turbines worth $750 million from General Electric . The deal supports 2,650 jobs, according to the White House statement. Reliance Power said it is negotiating an additional deal to buy mining equipment worth $641 million and which supports 3,460 US jobs from Bucyrus International and others.
- Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson will build a new plant in India to assemble its American made motorcycle kits. The plant set up will enable the company to reduce the burden of tariffs. Jobs will be created in both India and the US, the White House said.
- The US Exim Bank reached MoU with Anil’s Reliance Power to finance up to $5 billion for the purchase of US goods and services in installing gas-fired electric plants and solar and wind energy facilities.
Several other small and medium size business agreements were also reached. In a reference to Ohio’s ban on outsourcing, Obama said that he was confident that he would tell his people India was providing more than 50,000 jobs and they should not resort to protectionism. Interestingly, PepsiCo.’s CEO, Indra Nooyi, said Ohio’s squeezed budget will force it to back off from its decision to ban outsourcing. Now that the mid-term elections are over, Ohio may not hesitate to lift the ban.
What Does India Get?
The US president, while speaking in the parliament, declared the US’ support for India’s permanent membership in the UNSC in years to come. Analysts say this is not going to happen the in near future, quoting Obama’s pre-visit interview to PTI, “it’s complicated.” If India were to get a permanent seat in the Security Council, then Brazil, Germany and Japan will ask for the same consideration, and their opponents are also likely to raise objections. So it is better to say “it’s complicated,” announcing support at the same time.
As Obama was criticized for not mentioning Pakistan’s support for terrorist groups in Mumbai, he did so in the parliament speech, asking Pak to do more to curb terrorist support. This announcement is not worthy of mention. Moreover, it’s silly to boast about it, in the context of the wider range of US, India bilateral ties.
Obama said his government would lift curbs on the export of dual use technology. This could be a worthy idea, but only if it is realized. As concrete agreements are not yet reached, Obama’s announcement cannot be relied upon, as it may require approval of Congress and Senate. He promised to support India to become a member in the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group. This again is not reliable, as India has yet to begin nuclear trade after the approval of the civil nuclear agreement and nuclear liability bill.
A salesman came to India, sold his goods, and left for neighboring houses. His promises to India are nothing but empty talk.