President Barack Obama is currently in India, staying at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, the hotel attacked by terrorists two years ago this month. The choice of accommodations was deliberate, he explained today:
"We visit here to send a very clear message that, in our determination to give our people a future of security and prosperity, the United States and India stand united. We'll never forget how the world, including the American people, watched and grieved with all of India. But the resolve and the resilience of the Indian people during those attacks stood in stark contrast to the savagery of the terrorists. The murderers came to kill innocent civilians that day, but those of you here risked everything to save human life."
Meanwhile, the White House showcased a list of trade deals negotiated with India — including a $4.1 billion agreement for the Indian air force to purchase 10 C-17 military transport planes from Boeing — that the administration hopes will net "both money and jobs" for U.S. businesses. The promise of over 22,000 new jobs coincides with an op-ed in today's Times, written by Obama himself, in which he explains:
[I'm setting a goal] of doubling America's exports in the next five years. To do that, we need to find new customers in new markets for American-made goods. And some of the fastest-growing markets in the world are in Asia, where I'm traveling this week. It is hard to overstate the importance of Asia to our economic future. Asia is home to three of the world's five largest economies, as well as a rapidly expanding middle class with rising incomes. My trip will therefore take me to four Asian democracies — India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan — each of which is an important partner for the United States.
So, coincidentally, he's over there while this piece drops. In any case, looks like, despite the requisite Republican ire, this is a real business trip for the Obamas. No fun for Sasha (who's stuck in school anyway), but Obama's got her future in mind.