for www.yahoo.com on Nov. 6, 2010
MUMBAI, India – President Barack Obama arrived in India on Saturday, beginning a 10-day, four-country tour of Asia that will take him through some of the region's most vibrant democracies in search of U.S. economic and security benefits.
Air Force One touched down in the booming financial center of Mumbai around midday after traveling more than 15 hours from Washington. The Indian afternoon was humid and bright. A red carpet was rolled toward the steps of Air Force Once and Obama and his wife, Michelle, emerged with smiles. They were greeted by about a dozen people, including Tim Roemer, the U.S. ambassador to India. Mrs. Obama also received a bouquet of bright red roses.
After a brief stop at his hotel, Obama was to pay his respects at a memorial to victims of the 2008 terror attacks here and visit a home where Mohandas Gandhi once lived before turning to the focus of his first day in India: U.S. jobs.
Obama was set to speak to American and Indian business leaders and was expected to announce trade and export deals worth billions to the U.S. In the wake of the Democrats' devastating midterm losses, attributed in part to the poor state of the U.S. economy, the White House is intent on highlighting concrete benefits to U.S. consumers from Obama's foray overseas.
"It is hard to overstate the importance of Asia to our economic future," the president wrote Saturday in an op-ed in The New York Times.
The president left Washington shortly after the government reported that the economy added 151,000 jobs in October. It wasn't enough to lower a stubborn 9.6 percent jobless rate and the president said it wasn't good enough.
On the longest foreign trip of his presidency, Obama's business-first message is aimed particularly at India, where he is spending three full days. That's also the longest amount of time he has spent in any one country. The trip is also taking him to Indonesia, where he lived for four years as a youth, to South Korea for a meeting of the Group of 20 developed and developing nations and then to Japan for an American Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
The White House is going to great lengths to bring attention to the economic potential and shared democratic values that define its relationship with India and its 1.2 billion residents.
Briefing reporters aboard Air Force One, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said Obama intends the trip to be "a full embrace of India's rise." Said Donilon: "There's no more powerful way to do that than a presidential trip."
Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101106/ap_on_re_us/obama_asia