Photos: Obama tours Asia

loading photos...
  1. Barack Obama waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House upon his return on Nov. 14, in Washington, D.C. Obama returns from a 10-day Asian tour where he held bilateral talks with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Barack Obama visits the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura, Japan, on the sidelines of the ongoing APEC Summit, Nov. 14. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Barack Obama, left, talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders retreat in Yokohama on Nov. 13. (Tim Sloan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. U.S. President Barack Obama is escorted to his position by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his wife Nobuko Kan at the APEC Summit in Yokohama, Japan, Nov. 13. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with President Barack Obama during the opening plenary session of the G20 Summit in Seoul on Friday, November 12. (Andy Rain / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the G20 Summit in Seoul on Nov. 12. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. President Barack Obama gestures as he takes a seat at the G20 Working Dinner at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul on Thursday, Nov.11. Local beef and halibut from the Yellow Sea were on the menu as world leaders opened their G20 summit talks over a welcome dinner. (Yonhap / Pool via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. President Barack Obama is escorted to his position by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak as First Lady Kim Yoon-ok looks on during the official arrival for the G20 Summit working dinner at the National Museum in Seoul on Nov. 11. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. President Barack Obama lays a wreath at the Yongsan War Memorial during a Veterans Day event at the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul on Nov. 11, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. President Barack Obama greets military personnel at a Veterans Day event at the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul on Nov. 11. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. President Barack Obama steps off Air Force One as he arrives in Seoul, Nov. 10. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama listen as Grand Imam Ali Mustafa Yaqub gives them a tour of the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on Nov. 10. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Members of the audience cheer President Barack Obama after he delivered a speech at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta on Nov. 10. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. President Barack Obama waves as he arrives to deliver a speech at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta on Nov. 10. Obama said Muslim-majority Indonesia's national philosophy of unity bewteen people of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds is an inspiration to the world. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama pose for an official photo with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife Mrs. Yudhoyono at the State Palace Complex Istana Merdeka in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Tuesday, Nov. 9. The two leaders began bilateral talks expected to focus on security and economic issues, on the second leg of Obama's ten-day Asian tour. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. President Obama walks with Michelle Obama along the red carpet with Indonesian officials upon arrival at the Halim Perdana Kusuma airport in Jakarta on Nov. 9. (Roslan Rahman / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. The official band runs to get out of the rain moments before the arrival of President Obama for an official arrival ceremony at State Palace Complex-Istana Merdeka on Nov. 9. in Jakarta. Obama made a much-delayed homecoming of sorts to Indonesia, seeking to engage Muslims and cement strategic relations on the second leg of his Asia tour. (Tim Sloan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. President Obama and the first lady arrive in Jakarta on Nov. 9. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. President Obama toasts alongside India's President Pratibha Patil, right, during a state dinner at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, on Monday, Nov. 8. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, right, argues with an official from the Indian Prime Minister's office after the travelling White House press pool was refused entry to the bilateral meeting between President Obama and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Nov. 8. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. The feet of President Barack Obama, right, and First Lady Michelle Obama, left, are seen as they participate in a wreath laying ceremony at Raj Ghat on Nov. 8. The Obamas were visiting the location where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. President Barack Obama reviews the honor guard during an official arrival ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India on Monday, Nov. 8. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama sprinkle flowers after they laid a wreath at Raj Ghat, the Mahatma Gandhi memorial, in New Delhi, India, on Nov. 8. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Activists and survivors of Bhopal gas tragedy sit at a protest against visiting U.S. President Barack Obama in New Delhi, India, on Nov. 8, 2010. The 1984 gas leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in the Indian city of Bhopal killed about 15,000 people and sickened some 500,000. (Gurinder Osan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greet each other after a press conference at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, on Nov. 8. (Saurabh Das / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are welcomed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gusharan Kaur as they arrive at Rashtrapati Bahavan in New Delhi on Nov. 8. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. President Barack Obama, right, and first lady Michelle Obama tour through Humayun's Tomb in New Dehli on Nov. 7. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Barack Obama bends down to shake hands with a young child as he tours through Humayun's Tomb in New Dehli on Nov. 7. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as first lady Michelle Obama and Gusharan Kaur, right, watch after arriving in New Delhi on Nov. 7. (Prakash Singh / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Barack Obama, left, watches on as first lady Michelle Obama dances with children during their visit to the Holy Name High School in Mumbai, India, on Nov. 7. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Barack Obama speaks during a town hall meeting with students at St. Xavier College in Mumbai on Nov. 7. (Tim Sloan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Barack Obama shakes hands with students at St. Xavier College in Mumbai on Nov. 7. (Tim Sloan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Michelle and Barack Obama view the 26/11 memorial Saturday at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, site of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India. Obama flew into India's commercial capital on Saturday aiming to boost ties and seal big-ticket business deals to secure jobs and exports days after voters punished his Democrats in mid-term elections. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Activists of the Communist Party of India and members of various other organizations stage a demonstration Saturday against Barack Obama's visit in Mumbai. (EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. President Barack Obama waves to photographers through a window from backstage as he waits to deliver remarks at the U.S.-India business council and entrepreneurship summit Saturday in Mumbai, India. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. President Barack Obama greets members of the audience after delivering remarks at the U.S.-India business council and entrepreneurship summit Saturday in Mumbai, India. Obama announced $10 billion in business deals. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Handwritten notes by President Barack Obama, top, and first lady Michelle Obama are seen in the guest book during their Saturday tour of the Mani Bhavan Ghandi Museum, where Mahatma Gandhi resided on his visits to Mumbai. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. An Indian shopkeeper shows a cushion with a painting of Michelle Obama designed by Arpita Kalra, in New Delhi, India, Saturday. (Manish Swarup / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Michelle Obama plays a game while entertaining underprivileged children Saturday during her visit to the Mumbai University. (Solaris Images / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Indian micro-artist Ramesh Sah, 47, shows the nail of his thumb painted with a miniature image of President Barack Obama on Saturday in support of Obama's visit to India in Siliguri. (Diptendu Dutta / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Barack and Michelle Obama descend Air Force One as they disembark Saturday on arrival at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India. (Solaris Images / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Indonesian Muslims wear slippers during a protest against the planned visit of President Barack Obama outside the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday, Nov. 7. Obama is scheduled to visit the world's most populous Muslim nation next week. (Dita Alangkara / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

updated 11/8/2010 7:30:24 PM ET 2010-11-09T00:30:24

President Barack Obama backed India for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council Monday, a dramatic diplomatic gesture to his hosts as he wrapped up his first visit to this burgeoning nation.

Obama was making the announcement in a speech to India's parliament on the third and final day of his visit. In doing so, he fulfilled what was perhaps India's dearest wish for Obama's trip here. India has been pushing for permanent Security Council membership for years.

"The just and sustainable international order that America seeks includes a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible and legitimate," Obama said in prepared remarks. "That is why I can say today — in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed U.N. Security Council that includes India as a permanent member."

  1. Related content
    1. Indonesian says he shook first lady's hand by accident
    2. 'Building bridges': Obama courts Muslims
    3. Obama bypasses India's outsourcing capital
    4. Obama backs India for Security Council seat
    5. Obamas turn to Indian culture
    6. White House debunks Asia trip's rumored cost

The announcement does not mean that India will join the five current permanent Security Council members anytime soon. The U.S. is backing its membership only in the context of unspecified reforms to the council that could take years to bring about.

That makes Obama's announcement more of a diplomatic gesture than a concrete step. Nonetheless, it underscores the importance the U.S. places on fostering ties with this nation of 1.2 billion people, something Obama has been seeking to accomplish throughout his time here.

Indian and U.S. companies have discussed or signed over $14.9 billion in deals around Obama's trip that will support 53,670 U.S. jobs, the White House said Monday.

The U.S. export content of the deals, estimated at $9.5 billion, won't go far to settle America's trade deficit, which was $46.3 billion in August alone, but the numbers are testament to India's growing importance as a global market and have provoked a swell of pride here.

"I want to be able to say to the American people when they ask me, well, why are you spending time with India, aren't they taking our jobs?" Obama told reporters in New Delhi Monday.

"I want to be able to say, actually, you know what, they just created 50,000 jobs. And that's why we shouldn't be resorting to protectionist measures. We shouldn't be thinking that it's just a one-way street."

'Defining partnership' of the 21st century
Obama said repeatedly throughout his three days in India — first in the financial center of Mumbai and then in the capital of New Delhi — that he views the relationship between the two countries as one of the "defining partnerships" of the 21st century. He set out to prove it by making India the first stop on a four-country tour of Asia, and then through economic announcements, cultural outreach and finally the announcement about the U.N. Security Council.

India has sought permanent council membership as a recognition of its surging economic clout and its increased stature in world affairs. The U.S. endorsement is certain to deepen ties between the two countries and could also send Obama's popularity in India skyrocketing to a level comparable to that enjoyed by George W. Bush. The former president is seen as a hero here for helping end India's nuclear isolation.

  1. Only on NBCNews.com
    1. OWN via Getty Images
      From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
    2. pool via Reuters file
      US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
    3. China: One-child policy is here to stay
    4. NRA: Practice Range
      New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
    5. 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
    6. AFP - Getty Images
      China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
    7. AFP - Getty Images
      French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali

The president's announcement on the Security Council brought immediate praise from Indian politicians and diplomats.

"I think, maybe, he has gone and scored one better than Bush," said M.K. Rasgotra, a former Indian foreign secretary. "A great paean to democracy and his belief in India's promise and offering to stand shoulder to shoulder to India in its advance and progress. This is a great moment in Indo-US relations."

The five permanent members of the Security Council are the U.S., China, France, the United Kingdom and Russia.

Debate has raged for years over how to change a structure that is widely seen as outdated and it is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. So it's unclear when drive for permanent membership will ever be realized. But backing it at all is a critically important move from India's perspective.

  1. Other political news of note
    1. Animated Boehner: 'There's nothing complex about the Keystone Pipeline!'

      House Speaker John Boehner became animated Tuesday over the proposed Keystone Pipeline, castigating the Obama administration for not having approved the project yet.

    2. Budget deficits shrinking but set to grow after 2015
    3. Senate readies another volley on unemployment aid
    4. Obama faces Syria standstill
    5. Fluke files to run in California

In another important gesture to India, Obama went farther than he had previously during his stay in addressing the terror threat inside Pakistan, India's neighbor and archrival. Obama angered some here when he visited a memorial to victims of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks but didn't mention Pakistan, which was home to the attackers.

"We will continue to insist to Pakistan's leaders that terrorist safe-havens within their borders are unacceptable, and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks be brought to justice," the president said in the address to parliament. "We must also recognize that all of us have an interest in both an Afghanistan and a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic — and none more so than India."

Tensions over Kashmir
Obama also offered to help India and Pakistan resolve their long-standing dispute over Kashmir, without intervening directly.

Speaking at a news conference alongside India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Obama said that while both India and Pakistan have an interest in reducing tensions in the region, the U.S. "cannot impose a solution to these problems."

"We are happy to play any role the parties think is appropriate," he said.

The conflict over Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region where rebels have sought independence from India or incorporation with Pakistan, has been the main source of friction between the nuclear-armed neighbors since they won independence from Britain in 1947.

Pakistan has frequently sought outside intervention to resolve it but India vehemently opposes such involvement, and the United States has traditionally stayed above the fray. Obama declined to veer from that stance Monday.

Singh said that while he believes a strong, moderate Pakistan is in the interest of India and the wider region, India can't engage in talks as long as Pakistan's "terror machine is as active as ever before."

Video: Obama bypasses Bangalore, outsourcing capital

Singh also spoke to the sensitivity about high unemployment in the United States, saying at one point that his country "is not in the business of stealing jobs from America."

He welcomed President Obama by calling him a personal friend and "great charismatic leader."

Singh said that Obama and his wife, Michelle, have made an abiding impression on the Indian people with their warmth, grace and commitment to promoting relations between the two democracies.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Video: Obama taps India's boom for American jobs

  1. Closed captioning of: Obama taps India's boom for American jobs

    >>> president obama is preparing to head to indonesia tonight after spending the last several days in india . the president wants to tap into that country's growing economic power to create jobs back home, while walking a tight rope between two neighborhood adversaries who are both u.s. allies, india and pakistan . our own lee cowan is traveling with the president in new delhi tonight.

    >> reporter: all the colors of india were on diplomatic display this morning. the president was welcomed at india 's presidential palace , before they paid their respects at a memorial to ghandi. the white house bills this visit as a job hunting mission and the today the president was quick to point to recent trade deals that he says are proof that india is no longer just a destination for u.s. outsourcing.

    >> i want to be able to say to the american people , when they ask me why are you spending time with india , aren't they taking our jobs? i want to be able to say they just created 50,000 jobs.

    >> reporter: india 's trillion dollar economy has made it a global power . enough that it now wants a permanent seat on the u.n. security council . an idea the president endorsed while addressing india 's parliament.

    >> in the years ahead, i look forward to a reformed united nations security council .

    >> reporter: but dogging him throughout the trip has been pakistan , a u.s. ally but bitter rival of india . the president called for dialogue, but india 's prime minister says not until pakistan cracks down on terrorist safe havens .

    >> you cannot simultaneously be talking and at the same time be terrorists as active as before.

    >> reporter: the remark was aimed directly at pakistan .

    >> the pakistan government is not strong enough to be able to take an agreement with india into the public domain and sell it politically.

    >> reporter: since his arrival, it's been a hectic mix of culture and policy. he was reluctant to take to the dance floor over the weekend. but first lady michelle obama has been dancing, even hob scotching her way from one indian venue to another. the next stop, the president's boyhood home of indonesia, then korea and japan for economic summits. lee

Interactive: Obama in Asia

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments