MUMBAI, India – The Obama administration Saturday announced $9.5 billion in private-sector export deals with India that it said would support an estimated 54,000 jobs in the United States as President Obama began a three-day visit to the nation intended to deepen U.S.-India trade ties.

The deals include a $4.1 million “preliminary” agreement for India to buy 10 C-17 military transport aircraft from Boeing, the purchase of 30 Boeing 737 passenger planes by an Indian airline for $2.7 billion, the sale of 107 combat jet engines to India by General Electric, valued at $800 million, and the purchase of a new electricity generating GE gas turbine that is assembled in Greenville, S.C., a deal worth $722 million and responsible for supporting nearly 3,000 jobs.

Most of the deals had been in the works for months, but the White House made them public on Saturday, the first day of Obama’s three-day visit to India, to underscore what the president said should be a growing economic relationship between the U.S. and India, whose economy is expected to grow by 8 percent annually for the next five years.


Mindful perhaps of the drubbing Democrats took in Tuesday’s election by Republicans who said Obama hadn’t done enough to bring down the U.S. unemployment rate, currently 9.6 percent, the White House carefully noted the number of jobs each deal was credited with supporting — from 22,000 jobs in 44 states from the Boeing C-17 sale to the five in Maine supported by the deployment in rural India of a U.S.-built mobile telephone antenna system.

“There are many Americans whose only experience with trade and globalization has been a shuttered factory or a job that was shipped overseas,” Obama told a U.S.-India Business Council summit that drew hundreds of representatives from both countries.

“Here in India, I know that many still see the arrival of American companies and products as a threat to small shopkeepers and to India’s ancient and proud culture,” he said.

“But these old stereotypes, these old concerns, ignore today’s reality it is a dynamic two-way relationship that is creating jobs, growth and higher living standards in both our countries.”

The White House also announced that Obama had ordered an end to limits on technology purchases by three Indian government agencies that previously had been subject to case-by-case review. The decision won’t boost exports much, said Mike Froman, deputy national security adviser for economic affairs, but it will ease tensions and lead to more trade deals.

“We will end up treating India similarly to other close allies and partners, rather than as a country of concern,” Froman said. That change will allow the two countries “to focus on other outstanding barriers that hinder expanded bilateral high-tech trade.”


In another change aimed at embracing India as an ally, the Obama administration also announced that it would support India’s phased-in full membership in the world’s major nonproliferation regimes, although India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The decision to support India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, among others, drew immediate criticism from some who feared the action would fuel the Indo-Pakistan nuclear arms race and weaken the international system designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

There was no immediate reaction from Pakistan, which views improving India-U.S. relations with suspicion, even as the U.S. works to encourage Pakistan to crack down on Taliban and al-Qaida forces that have sought refuge in Pakistan.

At the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, where Obama is staying, the president and first lady Michelle Obama placed white roses at a memorial to victims of the Nov. 26, 2008, terrorist attacks that killed more than 160, including Americans.