Saturday, November 6, 2010

DTN News: Obama's India Port Of Entry - Mumbai

Defense News: DTN News: Obama's India Port Of Entry - Mumbai
(NSI News Source Info) MUMBAI, India - November 6, 2010: President Barack Obama says new trade deals between the U.S. and India will support more than 50,000 jobs in the U.S.

He said the relationship between America and India should be a win for both sides — while acknowledging concerns in America about outsourcing.

Speaking Saturday to American and Indian chief executives on the first day of a 10-day trip through Asia, Obama said the relationship between the U.S. and India "will be one of the defining and indispensable partnerships of the 21st century."

He also announced a host of new trade deals, including aircraft purchases, that the White house says are worth $10 billion and will help support 54,0000 jobs.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

President Barack Obama is announcing $10 billion in trade deals with India that are expected to help pay for 54,000 U.S. jobs.

He's also unveiling new export rules to make it easier for U.S. companies to do business with the nation of 1.2 billion people. Some of the changes, including relaxing controls on India's purchase of so-called "dual use" technologies that could be used for civilian or military purposes, have been top priorities for the business community.

Obama was to make the announcements Saturday in a speech to U.S. and Indian business executives on the first day of his 10-day, four-country Asia trip. In the wake of Democrats' midterm election losses, attributed partly to continued high unemployment in the U.S., the White House is working overtime to present Obama's trip as singularly focused on U.S. jobs and the domestic economy.

The commercial deals include the purchase of 33 737s from Boeing by India's SpiceJet Airlines; the Indian military's plans to buy aircraft engines from General Electric; and preliminary agreement between Boeing and the Indian Air Force on the purchase of 10 C17s.

For the most part, the deals were already pending, but the White House contends Obama's visit to India helped finalize them. Officials said the deals would support 53,670 U.S. jobs, but it was not clear how many, if any, new jobs would be created as a result.

The announcements were coming shortly after Obama arrived in Mumbai, where his first stop was at the Taj Mahal hotel to commemorate the 2008 terror attacks that killed 166 people across the city. The president said he intended to send a signal by making Mumbai the first stop of the trip and by staying at the Taj, which was a target during the terror siege.

"The United States and India stand united," he said.

"We'll never forget.

But illustrating the difficulties of the U.S.-India relationship even as Obama began a trip aimed at strengthening it, Indian commentators quickly seized on the president's failure in his spoken remarks to mention Pakistan. Pakistan was the home of the 10 assailants, the place where they trained and the base they used to launch the attack.

Pakistan is also India's archrival — but a linchpin for Washington and its allies in the war in Afghanistan.

After his remarks on the terror attacks, Obama visited a museum in a home where Mohandas Gandhi once lived.

The president is aware of sometimes being perceived as antibusiness in corporate America, and said after the elections last week that he wanted to change that perception. Much of Obama's day Saturday appeared geared toward that goal.

Before his speech to the U.S.-India Business Council, Obama met with CEOs. Reporters looked on as he again tied his mission to U.S. job creation and proclaimed the importance of working with fast-growing economies. "No country represents that promise of a strong, vibrant, commercial relationship more than India," the president said.

The White House also arranged for four American chief executives who are in India for the occasion to brief reporters traveling with the president. They talked up the importance of India as a trading partner and praised Obama's decision to come to the country to underscore that point in person.

"India represents the 14th-largest trading partner of the United States. Why? With all of the opportunity, it should be so much bigger. And that's what this opportunity is all about," said Terry McGraw, chairman and chief executive of the McGraw-Hill Companies.

Obama was spending three days in India, his longest stretch yet in one country, a point U.S. officials have been careful to emphasize as they play up the administration's interest in nurturing the relationship. On Sunday he heads to New Delhi, the capital, where he will address the parliament.

After India, Obama is scheduled to travel to Indonesia, where he lived for four years as a youth. From there he goes to South Korea for a meeting of the Group of 20 developed and developing nations and then to Japan for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, before returning to Washington on Nov. 14, a day before the start of Congress' lame-duck session.

*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
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DTN News: Tajikistan TODAY November 6, 2010 - The White Elephant In Tajikistan

Defense News: DTN News: Tajikistan TODAY November 6, 2010 - The White Elephant In Tajikistan
* It was but four years ago that Ayni Airbase was set to become India’s first visible geopolitical move into Central Asia. What happened?
Source: DTN News - - This article courtesy Raj Seth by Joshua Kucera - The Caravan
(NSI News Source Info) - November 6, 2010: When India began renovating Tajikistan’s Ayni
airbase earlier in the decade, it looked set to become India’s first foreign military base, and to make Tajikistan a player in the competition among outside powers jockeying to establish outposts in Central Asia. The Indian government appeared ready to declare the base operational in 2006.
Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil visiting with the Defence Minister of Tajikistan, Colonel General Sherali Khayrulloyev, in Dushanbe on 7 September 2009.

In early September that year, Tajikistan’s president, Emomalii Rahmon, declared the base and its 3,200-metre runway to be open. And although information about the base is closely guarded by both the Indian and Tajik ministries of defence, it now appears that India will not use Ayni after all, depriving isolated, impoverished Tajikistan of the rent money and geopolitical clout it could have been gaining by allowing another country to use the base. And India remains without this foothold in Tajikistan, a mountainous country of about seven million, just north of Afghanistan. Tajikistan—the poorest corner of the former Soviet Union, and still unstable after a brutal civil war in the 1990s—holds a geographic position with obvious appeal to India, offering Delhi not only a strategic counterweight to Pakistan’s considerable influence in Afghanistan, but an airbase within striking distance of its troublesome neighbour.

But India’s ambitions in Central Asia have been thwarted, according to many in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, by Russia: Moscow does not want anyone else to use the base, though Tajikistan’s deteriorating relations with Russia have disinclined Dushanbe from wanting to host another Russian base in its territory.

“They [members of the Tajikistan government] don’t know what to do with this airbase. We don’t need it for ourselves, but to give it to someone else would create problems with other countries,” said Faridoon Khodizoda, a political analyst in Dushanbe.

The Russian Embassy in Dushanbe did not respond to requests for comment, and a spokesman at the Indian Embassy said he could not comment on Ayni, but referred questions to Tajikistan’s Ministry of Defence. They did not respond to requests for comment.

India has renovated runways and hangars at Ayni, but the Indian government has never publically stated its longerterm intentions for the base. Reports in the Indian press have suggested that India hoped to base a squadron of MiG-29 fighter jets there, in an effort to bolster its clout in Central Asia and to counter Pakistani influence in Afghanistan.

“Once called the white elephant of Asia, India’s strategic aspirations have now finally come of age,” wrote Shiv Aroor, an Indian journalist who obtained classified information about India’s plans in 2007. “The country’s first military base in a foreign country will be declared ready for use next month. Welcome to Ayni, Tajikistan, India’s first military outpost in a foreign land. Bare minutes from Tajikistan’s border with war-torn Afghanistan, the base gives India a footprint for the first time ever in the region’s troubled history.”

Indian political analysts also raved about India’s bold foray into the strategically vital Central Asian region. “There are several reasons underpinning India’s interest in a base at Tajikistan,” wrote analyst Sudha Ramachandran in 2006. “It is close to areas where scores of camps for jihadist and anti-India terrorist groups are based, and it is in the proximity of territory where Pakistan and China are engaged in massive military co-operation. Besides, Tajikistan is in Central Asia, a gas-rich region in which India has growing interests.”

Analysts of India’s military now say that those expectations may have been too ambitious. When the renovations began in 2004 and 2005, India did not have a clear plan as to how it would eventually establish a base at Ayni, according to one source close to the Indian armed forces, whose employer does not allow him to speak on the record. “The point, sadly, remains the same: while the Tajik government has kept doors open, at least in a limited sense, the government here hasn’t quite gotten its act together about precisely what or how to leverage the opportunity,” he said.

Some analysts said that India’s foray into base politics was merely an attempt to act like the superpower it has not yet become. “India is playing a game,” said Imran Baig, a Washington, DC-based analyst of South Asian security. “To maintain a base with no aircraft is not expensive at all. But to deploy a high-tech fighter squadron full-time at a remote location far from the country of origin is a very, very costly affair and can only be afforded by superpowers.”

Still, India appears to want to keep the question of its presence at Ayni open. India’s president, Pratibha Patil, visited Dushanbe last year, and Indian engineers continue to work on construction projects at the base, including a “hotel,” according to one worker at the base who spoke on condition of anonymity. But there were no Indian aircraft there, the worker said.

Meanwhile, analysts in Dushanbe argue that Tajikistan’s government may have been courting India with the intention of playing Delhi off Moscow to exert a higher price for Russian usage of the base.

Russia appears disinclined to allow India any access to the airfield. Russia’s defence minister, Anatoliy Serdyukov, said last year that Tajikistan and Russia would jointly utilise the base, but Tajikistan has never confirmed that. And Russia, which already maintains a large military base for its 201st Division at Dushanbe, does not appear interested in actually using Ayni, but merely in keeping other countries from using it, said Zafar Sufiyev, the editor-in-chief of Ozodagon, an independent weekly newspaper in Dushanbe.

Neither does Tajikistan appear interested in allowing Russia to use the base. Tajikistan’s president, Emomalii Rahmon, recently suggested that Russia, which currently does not pay rent for the 201st Division base, should do so in the future. The two sides, however, agreed to put off that decision until 2014. Tajik-Russian relations have also been harmed by Moscow’s failure to support Dushanbe, either financially or diplomatically, in the construction of the Rogun Dam, which Tajikistan’s government sees as vital to its future economic security.

“Rahmon is not independent enough to say ‘no’ to Russia, and he’s afraid to say ‘yes’ to anyone else,” said Saymuddin Dustov, an analyst in Dushanbe. “So he does nothing.”

There has been speculation that the US, facing continuing uncertainty over the use of the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan, might be interested in Ayni as a possible replacement. The Tajikistan government would allow the US to use Ayni at the right price, said Safiyev. “If the government gets more for it than the Americans pay for Manas, they’ll be interested,” he said. “It’s a market.”

But the US has said it has no interest in using the base, and it’s not clear anymore whether India would be interested either. It appears that Russia may have made that decision for them.

*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
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DTN News: Obama's Four Nations Asian Visit....Journey Has Started From White House To Gateway Of India - Mumbai

Defense News: DTN News: Obama's Four Nations Asian Visit....Journey Has Started From White House To Gateway Of India - Mumbai
Source: DTN News - - by K. V. Seth - Special Report
(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - November 6, 2010: The White House will, of course, stay in Washington but the heart of the famous building will move to India when President Barack Obama lands in Mumbai on Saturday.
Communications set-up and nuclear button and majority of the White House staff will be in India accompanying the President on this three-day visit that will cover Mumbai and Delhi. He will also be protected by a fleet of 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier, which will patrol the sea lanes off the Mumbai coast during his two-day stay there beginning Saturday. The measure has been taken as Mumbai attack in 2008 took place from the sea. Arrangements have been put in place for emergency evacuation, if needed.

Obama is expected to fly by a helicopter -- Marine One -- from the city airport to the Indian Navy's helibase INS Shikra at Colaba in south Mumbai. Two jets, armed with advanced communication and security systems, and a fleet of over 40 cars will be part of Obama's convoy. Around 800 rooms have been booked for the President and his entourage in Taj Hotel and Hyatt.

The President will have a security ring of American elite Secret Service, which are tasked to guard the President, along with National Security Guards (NSG) and personnel from central paramilitary forces and local police in Mumbai and Delhi. Similar arrangements will be in place in Delhi, with the Air Force One to be kept in all readiness throughout Obama's stay here from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday morning.

Maurya Hotel, where the President will stay, has already been swarmed by American security personnel and protective measures have been put in place. Security drills have already been carried out at the hotel as well as Rajghat, where he will visit. Sources said 13 heavy-lift aircraft with high-tech equipment, three helicopters and 500 US security personnel have arrived in India ahead of Obama's visit.

The US security has also brought interception and obstruction device, sniffer dogs, rescue gadgets. Apart from Obama's Air Force One, a few private luxury jets carrying top American corporate leaders, who are part of Obama's entourage, are also expected to arrive in India in the next 2-3 days.

All high-rise buildings in the vicinity of Mumbai's Taj Mahal hotel and Delhi's Maurya Sheraton hotel, where the US President will stay, are being sanitised and security personnel will be positioned on rooftops to prevent any air-borne attack. The Ridge area - opposite Delhi's Maurya Sheraton hotel - has been illuminated by floodlights as part of the heightened security drill. The Home Ministry has already issued an alert for Mumbai and Delhi asking authorities to take extra precautions during Obama's visit as well as on Diwali on Friday.

*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact:
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