On November 24, 2009, in honor of the arrival of His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, and his wife, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama held the first official State Dinner of the Presidency.
During the visit, the two leaders discussed a range of global, regional, and bilateral issues of shared interest and common concern. The two leaders also continued the strategic dialogue that was launched in July. 2009 and reviewed progress made in the dialogue.
In November, 2010, as leader of the world’s oldest democracy, President Barack Obama capped a three-day visit to India by delivering a message to the Parliament of the world’s largest democracy.
“We are two strong democracies whose constitutions begin with the same revolutionary words – the same revolutionary words – ‘We the people.’ We are two great republics dedicated to the liberty and justice and equality of all people. And we are two free market economies where people have the freedom to pursue ideas and innovation that can change the world. And that’s why I believe that India and America are indispensable partners in meeting the challenges of our time,” President Obama said to applause.
During this, the President’s first state visit to India, agreements were reached or affirmed in many environmental arenas: clean energy, climate change, food and agriculture, nuclear weapons and civil nuclear power, weather forecasting, Earth observation and space exploration.
On the margins of the President’s trip, trade transactions were announced or showcased, exceeding $14.9 billion in total value with $9.5 billion in U.S. export content, supporting an estimated 53,670 U.S. jobs, according to a statement from the White House.
At a joint news conference in New Delhi, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said, “We have announced specific initiatives in the areas of clean energy, health and agriculture. These include a Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Centre, the establishment of a Global Disease Detection Centre in India and an agreement for cooperation in weather and crop forecasting.”
The concept of a joint clean energy R&D center to be located in India was first agreed during Prime Minister Singh’s state visit to Washington in November 2009. During this visit a Memoradum of Understanding was signed, establishing the center.
The priority areas of focus for the U.S.-India clean energy center are likely to include: solar energy, energy efficiency, biofuels, clean coal technology and an integrated gasification combined cycle project that turns coal into synthesis gas.