Obama Announces Repeat India Visit

Obama Announces Repeat India Visit

For the first time, an American President will be the Chief Guest at India’s national day parade on Monday, January 26, 2015 (known as Republic Day in India). It will also be the first time in history that a sitting American President will have visited India twice. (President Clinton has been to India a number of times after he left office).

I was part of President Obama’s executive trade mission when he traveled to Mumbai and Delhi during Diwali 2010 and he spent more time in India than in any other foreign country until then. While some major trade initiatives around nuclear energy have not moved at all since then, bilateral trade between the two countries has risen rapidly since and is touching $100 billion now. I have predicted a continuing acceleration of such trade for a number of years and if the momentum continues, India could well rise to become one of America’s top six trading partners in a decade.

India’s new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and his government are in a hurry to expand India’s role on the global stage; he has reached out to Japan, Australia and Israel among others, but the world’s largest economy remains the biggest prize.

But by stepping off Air Force One on a foggy January morning at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, President Obama takes the US-India relationship to a new level. The White House has not yet provided details of the trip. All we have seen are terse announcements from Washington and New Delhi on Friday. Stay tuned for further implications as the trip details get flushed out.


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