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Obama Pledges Economic Aid to India, but Says Trade Barriers Remain

  • VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged $4 billion in American investments and loans to India, but said trade between the world's two largest democracies is still marked by "so much untapped potential."

On the second day of a three-day visit to India, Obama told a business conference attended by U.S. and Indian corporate executives there are "still too many barriers, hoops to jump through" in completing deals between the two countries. He noted that bilateral U.S.-India trade totals only $100 billion annually, less than a fifth of American business deals with Chinese companies

Rain did little to dampen the excitement around President Barack Obama's landmark visit to India as thousands of troops took part in a dazzling military parade Monday where he was the guest of honor.

Obama is the first U.S. president to attend India's Republic Day, which celebrates its first constitution as an independent state, taking effect on January 26, 1950.

The U.S. president spent the first day of his three-day visit Sunday bonding with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sealing a clutch of deals.

Nuclear agreement

Obama and Modi announced they have reached a "breakthrough" in a long-stalled nuclear power agreement.

The U.S. signed a deal with India in 2008 to provide civilian nuclear technology. But implementation has been stalled over an Indian law that makes companies that build and supply the equipment liable in case of an accident.

Both sides agreed Sunday to set up a multi-million-dollar insurance pool that does not force India to change its laws.

Details are still not clear. But President Obama called Sunday's agreement an important step that shows how both sides can work together to elevate relations.


Prime Minister Modi said he is pleased India and the U.S. can cooperate commercially under Indian and international law.

At a banquet Sunday night, President Obama toasted what he called the great partnership between India and the U.S., and friendship between their peoples.

Along with attending the Republic Day celebration Monday, Obama will speak at a forum of American and Indian business leaders. He will skip a planned visit to the Taj Mahal Tuesday, to fly to Saudi Arabia to pay his respects following last week's death of King Abdullah.

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