Obama to work with Modi to expand economic ties

Washington, Sep 24 (IANS) As Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the US to woo American investors, the White House said President Barack Obama would work closely with him to expand economic opportunity for both Americans and Indians

“There are any number of reasons why the President would work closely with his counterpart, Prime Minister Modi,” on strengthening India-US economic ties, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.

Modi, who arrived in New York Wednesday, is set to hold his third summit with Obama within a year next Monday after meeting investors in New York and tech leaders at Silicon Valley giants like Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Tesla among others.

When Obama travelled to India in January, “there was much discussion of the important economic ties between our two countries,” Earnest said in response to a question about the just concluded first India-US strategic and commercial dialogue.

Several American business leaders had also travelled to India at the same time “to engage in discussions with Indian business leaders and leaders in the Indian government to discuss strengthening the ties between our two countries,” he noted.

“The idea here is that by strengthening these ties, we can expand economic opportunity in both of our countries; that the more business that American businesses can do in India, the more economic opportunity that it creates back here in the US,” Earnest said.

“There’s also a potential that Indian businesses choosing to invest in the United States could also expand some economic opportunity here as well,” he said.

“So there are any number of reasons why the President would work closely with his counterpart, Prime Minister Modi,” Earnest said.

Modi “understands these kinds of dynamics and shares the President’s goal of trying to deepen these ties with an eye toward expanding economic opportunity for the citizens in both the United States and India,” he said.

Earnest also reiterated Obama’s support for India’s inclusion in a reformed Security Council, but suggested India “take on additional responsibilities” in international matters by, for instance, playing “a constructive role in the climate talks in Paris.”

The spokesperson recalled that during his first trip to India back in 2010, Obama had announced that the US “would be supportive of including India in the United Nations Security Council in the context of reforming essentially the governance structure of the United Nations.”

“That continues to be the position of the United States, and I think it reflects the increasingly important role that we’re seeing India play around the world,” he said.

“And as the world’s largest democracy and as a country whose economic influence is only growing, we would welcome additional opportunities for India to take on additional responsibilities when it comes to contributing to the shared interests of the international community,” Earnest said.

“Certainly one way to do that would be for India to play a constructive role in the climate talks in Paris; that as a growing economy, India could make an important statement about the future of our planet by making a serious commitment in the context of those negotiations.”

Obama and Modi have had talked about it in the past, Earnest said, “and I would anticipate that they’ll talk about it again in advance of the Paris climate talks.”

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