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Obama R-Day visit: Obama, Modi to address top brass companiesí concerns

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New Delhi (Jan. 22, 2015): Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama will, for the first time, jointly address the top brass of American and Indian companies in New Delhi on Monday.

With Modi and Obama sharing a keen interest to boost bilateral economic relations, the US president’s upcoming visit to New Delhi is likely to see the two leaders seeking to address concerns of Indian and American industry leaders over trade barriers in both the countries.

The US-India Business Council along with Confederation of Indian Industry and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry will host the meet.Obama will arrive in New Delhi early on Sunday and meet Modi at Hyderabad House here the same day. He will be the chief guest in the Republic Day ceremony and will join President Pranab Mukherjee to witness the parade at Rajpath on Monday. 
Apart from addressing the business communities, Modi and Obama are also expected to speak in a programme to be aired by the All India Radio. Obama is the first US president to attend the Republic Day ceremony as the chief guest.  
He is also the first US president to visit India twice during his tenure. He had earlier visited India in November 2010. Modi and Obama had written a joint op-ed on “Washington Post” during the prime minister’s maiden visit to the US in September. 

According to the sources, New Delhi proposed the Modi-Obama joint radio address, after the idea was mooted by the prime minister, who had been using the medium to address the nation. 

The joint address to Indian and American business community is likely to give Modi and Obama an opportunity to outline their vision for future course of bilateral trade and economic ties. 

Modi is likely to highlight his government’s recent endeavours to make it easier for investors from the US and other countries to do business in India–raising foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in defence, construction, railways, manufacturing of medical devices and insurance sectors, launch of Jan Dhan Yojana for financial inclusion, Make in India campaign to woo investors and spur growth in manufacturing sector, easing and fast-tracking procedures for acquisition of land, launching Swachh Bharat and Digital India programmes and restructuring the planning commission into NITI Aayog. 

The US has been complaining about “discriminatory trade practices” in India. Washington has been pressing New Delhi hard over the past couple of years to address US companies’ concerns over “intellectual property protection, local content restrictions, limits on FDI and taxation problems”.  
The US government and industry leaders are understood to be happy over India’s endeavour to dismantle trade barriers. Obama, however, is likely to prod Modi to do more, even as he is expected to pledge Washington’s support to the “Make in India” campaign.  
Obama’s visit to New Delhi may see US entities sign deals with the Indian Government for developing Ajmer in Rajasthan, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh into smart cities.