U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to India next week is expected to focus on producing jobs for the U.S. economy (WSJ) by clinching big commercial deals for U.S. companies and promoting greater access to Indian markets. The trip, which comes shortly after U.S. congressional midterm elections, may be more politically palatable than focusing on thornier geopolitical issues like India's unease about Afghanistan and Pakistan. Amid U.S. concerns about outsourcing jobs to India, the White House hopes to stress the benefits of the two country's growing trade partnership. More than two hundred chief executives and corporate officials will travel to Mumbai for a business summit next Saturday (EconomicTimes), the largest contingent of U.S. chief executives to accompany a president on a state visit. The total number of deals resulting from Obama's trip could help create or sustain one hundred thousand U.S. jobs (FT), according to the U.S. India Business Council. But the United States will be challenged to strike an investment treaty with India amid U.S. corporate concerns about intellectual property abuses. India's leftist parties said they will hold a nationwide protest (EconomicTimes) during Obama's visit, opposing U.S. pressure on India to open its agriculture, retail trade, education, and other services to U.S. investment and multinational firms.
In the Asia Sentinel, David Karl says given that trade policy is a "highly contentious political issue in both countries, negotiations aimed at producing a U.S.-India accord--especially one that deals with agricultural access and subsidy issues--will almost certainly be futile." A better approach is to concentrate on liberalizing two-way trade in high-tech products and services.
In the Washington Post, Fred Bergsten and Arvind Subramanian say the dilemma of Obama's visit will be "how to keep the embers of the relationship [with India] glowing so that its future promise can be realized, even if political constraints will not permit aggressive actions now." Potential future goals could be a permanent seat for India on the Security Council and a U.S.-India economic partnership agreement.http://www.cfr.org/about/newsletters/editorial_detail.html?id=2249