By Arun Kumar
Washington, Jan 15 (IANS) Describing US President Barack Obama's November trip to India as a full "embrace" of India as a great power and partner, US officials say the trip resulted in a great leap in their economic ties.
It "...was an extraordinary trip, to India, where we fully embraced India's rise as a great power and a great partner for the United States," Obama's National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told reporters Friday ahead of next week's state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The US engagement with both India and China was part of Obama administration's Asia policy "to get great power relationships right, with positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationships, as we are seeking with China, with great powers."
One piece of the US effort in Asia "is to engage rising countries in Asia, and that was on display I think in our work on the India-Indonesia trip. We really have deepened these relationships," Donilonn said.
Making a distinction between Hu's Washington visit and Obama's New Delhi trip, he said: "The visit to India was the first visit by an American President to India since 2006, since March of 2006."
"There was an effort there where we were really trying to make really kind of a step function increase in the quality of the relationship and had a different set-it just had a different strategic dynamic to it.
"Also, the-three days there in India, again, trying to build out each of the aspects of the relationship. It was a different project," Donilonn said.
"Obviously, the commercial and economic relationship between those two countries is obviously fundamentally different," Press Secretary Robert Gibbs added.
"And the investment that we saw in American companies represented a fairly decent-size leap in the type of economic relationship that we've had with the Indians in trying to put that on a bigger playing field in terms of its citizens."
Meanwhile, in a follow up to the Obama visit, 24 US businesses including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, GE Hitachi, Westinghouse are embarking on a mission to India to pitch their high tech ware from civil-nuclear to defence and civil aviation.
Leading the Feb 6-11 business development mission to India will be US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke who accompanied Obama to India in November.
More than $10 billion in business deals between US companies and Indian private sector and government entities, supporting 50,000 American jobs were signed during the Obama visit.
Besides the aviation and nuclear power majors, other businesses joining the trade mission are based in 13 states across the country and more than half of them are small- and medium-sized companies, the US commerce department announced Friday.
The delegation, which also includes senior officials from the Export-Import Bank (EX-IM) and the Trade Development Agency (TDA), will make stops in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
During the trip Locke will highlight export opportunities for US businesses in the advanced industrial sectors, of civil-nuclear trade, defence and security, civil aviation, and information and communication technologies.