MUMBAI, India – Searching for help half a world away, President Barack Obama on Saturday embraced India as the next jobs-creating giant for hurting Americans, not a cheap-labor rival that outsources opportunity from the United States.
Fresh off a political trouncing at home, Obama was determined to show tangible, economic results on his long Asia trip, and that was apparent from almost the moment he set foot on a steamy afternoon in the world’s largest democracy. By the end of the first of his three days in India, he was promoting $10 billion in trade deals — completed in time for his visit — that the White House says will create about 54,000 jobs at home.
That’s a modest gain compared with the extent of the enduring jobless crisis in the United States. Economists say it would require on the level of 300,000 new jobs a month to put a real dent in an unemployment rate stuck near 10 percent.
Yet to Obama, the bigger picture was the lucrative potential of an unleashed trading relationship between India and the United States. He seemed comfortable and energized away from Washington, days removed from the GOP’s election thumping.