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Obama signs trade deal with India, defends relationship with Pakistan

by Adam Russett on November 8, 2010

During his third day on a trip to India, President Barack Obama pledged to support a permanent seat for India in the United Nations Security Council. Obama's move serves as a push to strengthen political and economic ties with the world's second-most populous country, The Washington Post reports.

Obama's support for India comes in the wake of a busy first two days in the country, where he has fielded difficult questions ranging from the United States' relationship with Pakistan to the hot topic of outsourcing jobs. On Sunday, a student from St. Xavier College asked Obama why he does not refer to Pakistan as a "terrorist state."

The question is the root of some tension, as there has been considerable violence between India and Pakistan throughout their histories. Most recently, terrorists trained in Pakistan before staging an attack in Mumbai that killed at least 170 people in 2008.

"We want nothing more than a stable, prosperous and peaceful Pakistan," Obama told the student. "Our feeling has been to be honest and forthright with Pakistan, to say, 'We are your friend, this is a problem and we will help you, but the problem has to be addressed.'"

Also addressed over the weekend was the issue of jobs and the American economy. The United States and India signed 14.9 billion in deals that are expected to support more than 50,000 U.S. jobs. The deals indicate India's growing role in the global economy and its importance to the U.S.

"It's important in terms of sending out a message to U.S. constituencies that India is not just some Third World country. It's actually a huge market," KPMG India executive director Pradeep Udhas told The Associated Press.

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