Examining U.S.-India Economic Ties As President Obama arrives in India, Renee Montagne talks with Wall Street Journal Delhi business correspondent Amol Sharma about the importance of economic ties between the U.S. and India -- and the huge defense deals on the horizon.
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Examining U.S.-India Economic Ties

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Examining U.S.-India Economic Ties

Examining U.S.-India Economic Ties

Examining U.S.-India Economic Ties

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As President Obama arrives in India, Renee Montagne talks with Wall Street Journal Delhi business correspondent Amol Sharma about the importance of economic ties between the U.S. and India — and the huge defense deals on the horizon.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Thank you for coming on the program.

MONTAGNE: Thank you. Good to be here.

MONTAGNE: India is, of course, a huge country with a huge market potential. How much does the U.S. currently export there?

MONTAGNE: U.S. exports are at about $17 billion to India now. But if - that sounds a big number, but India is still only the 12th largest trade partner of the U.S. So there's still a lot of room for growth, and that's what President Obama was highlighting here. He wants to open new markets for U.S. companies that - hopefully, from his standpoint - will create jobs back at home.

MONTAGNE: Well, what sort of exports are going in there now?

MONTAGNE: But there's also all kinds of smaller transactions, from telecommunications to a variety of other sectors. So, the trade is pretty broad with India. But there are areas, like retail and agriculture, that are still pretty closed off to foreign companies and U.S. companies. So the president really wanted to strike a balance between highlighting the areas where there has been progress and where trade is robust, but also press India to open its markets more to foreign investment.

MONTAGNE: Well, what about India? Is it mainly interested in buying these sorts of military hardware, or does it have an interest in other goods from the U.S.?

MONTAGNE: So there is the long-term view, and the case the president was trying to make is that you have to look at these transactions with a broad perspective. And over the long term, U.S. companies can create jobs in India if they can do more business.

MONTAGNE: Although creating jobs in India - of course, that would be a touchy subject here in the U.S. I mean, the president branded his trip to India as an effort to win deals that would help create jobs in the U.S. And of course, Americans think of it the other way around. How real is Mr. Obama's promise of potential American jobs being created through new economic exchanges with India?

MONTAGNE: So actually, all these sales that we're announcing here are going to create a lot of jobs at home. And I think they want that to be the message that's sent back to the United States.

MONTAGNE: Amol Sharma is a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in New Delhi. Thank you for joining us.

MONTAGNE: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: President Obama wraps up his trip to India this evening with a state dinner. He'll be in Indonesia tomorrow.

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