The coming visit of United States President Barack Obama to India underscored the growth and depth of partnership between the two countries on a host of issues and development of a full range of strategic cooperation, according to U.S. government officials.
Washington planned to demonstrate during the presidential visit from November 6 to 9 how its partnership with New Delhi had moved significantly forward since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the U.S. in November last.
Several issues were on the table for discussion during Mr. Obama's visit, the officials said, categorising them under three broad areas of bilateral relations — political coordination, economic cooperation and security engagement.
Mr. Obama is scheduled to arrive in Mumbai on November 6 and reach Delhi the next evening where Singh is scheduled to host a dinner for the visiting dignitary. His official engagements with Dr. Singh and his address to the joint session of Parliament are scheduled for November 8.
Briefing correspondents, the officials said the issues included defence relations and concerns of India on outsourcing in the context of H1B visa, cooperation in space, education and agriculture, among others.
They said the U.S government understood the concerns on the potential impact of the visa restrictions on Indian companies and such “frictions” did crop up. However, the officials said the move could not be termed protectionist by Washington.
The U.S. viewed as ‘positive' reports that India was willing to sign the Convention of Supplementary Convention on nuclear damages stating that such an occurrence would allow American companies to start commercial negotiations for supply of nuclear power equipment.
As for restrictions on export of dual-use technology, they said the administration was studying the wider issue of removal of export control restrictions in the context of enhancing competitiveness of its industry while addressing concerns of security. The officials stressed the situation and trends were positive more now with mere 1 per cent of the items being bracketed in this category, against 25 per cent a decade ago.
The U.S. projected that its bilateral trade with India would touch $ 50 billion this year and expected the trajectory to go up, the officials said adding that between 2004 and 2008, the two-way trade had doubled to stand at $ 43 billion.