Technology key to closer partnership between U.S. and India

Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to increase cooperation between the two countries on civilian space technology including exploration, Earth observation and scientific education. Additionally, the administration is working closely with Indian officials on cybersecurity issues in hopes of cracking down on piracy and attacks on U.S. networks from hackers based abroad.

India, particularly the South, is firmly established as a base of operations for foreign information technology and consulting firms thanks to the abundance of graduates with advanced degrees in math, science and engineering. However, in recent months the administration's focus has been on India as a market for American companies.

With the U.S. economy stagnant and suffering from nearly 10 percent unemployment, the administration has advocated increasing U.S. sales abroad to boost domestic hiring with a goal of doubling exports by 2015. India, with its rapidly expanding economy and a middle class of above 300 million, is fertile ground for American technology firms, particularly those selling consumer goods like TVs, smartphones and personal computers.

Over the weekend Obama, met with leaders of the rising Indian technology industry to discuss how to nurture burgeoning economic ties between the two nations. He also announced Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will lead a hi-tech trade mission to India in February that will focus on removing remaining barriers to trade in the world's largest democracy for American firms.

Noticeably absent from Obama's remarks was any pressure on India to resolve the standoff with neighbor Pakistan over Kashmir, a region claimed by both nations. He said the dispute "can only be resolved by the people of your two countries."