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U-M experts can discuss Obama's visit to India

January 16, 2015

President Obama will be the first U.S. president to be the chief guest at India's Republic Day Parade. During his three-day visit that starts Jan. 25, Obama is expected to discuss defense, civil nuclear agreements and economic investments.

University of Michigan experts are available to discuss the significance of the visit.

Puneet Manchanda, professor of marketing, researches business in emerging markets, business in India, strategy and marketing. Contact:, (734) 936-2445. Bio:

"India stands to gain more than the U.S. from this trip, economically speaking. However, if it can't 'seal the deal,' that would represent a terrible waste of this rare opportunity. The focus is most likely to be on trade, followed by foreign direct investment into India. The Indian government will try and convince the U.S. delegation that India is serious about protecting intellectual property, investing in manufacturing, providing market access for agricultural products, and providing a stable and predictable tax regime. India will probably also make a pitch for easier U.S. visa regimes. For the U.S., the trip represents the potential to increase its share in markets such as clean energy and defense hardware."

Leela Fernandes, professor of political science, studies the relationship between politics and culture. Contact:, (734) 780-7514. Bio:

"President Obama's visit to India for Republic Day is a historic event and a symbol of the expanding significance and strength of U.S.-India relations. The main issues for both will likely center on questions of trade, investment and security. It is unlikely that human rights will be a central issue for discussion between the two countries despite the fact that recent events have raised significant concerns about growing threats to religious minorities and religious freedom in India."

Michael Sivak, research professor at the U-M Transportation Research Institute, focuses on interactions of safety and environmental countermeasures. Contact:, (734) 936-1089. Bio:


"The increasing wealth in countries like India will result in growing demand for products and services that are energy intensive, such as air conditioning. We take these products for granted. It is likely that one of the issues to be discussed while President Obama is in India is how to reduce the likely explosive future demand for energy in India (and the consequent effects on carbon emissions) in parallel with the imposition of energy-consumption reductions in the U.S. The fact that the U.S. and China have recently agreed to curb future emissions of carbon will likely add pressure on India to follow suit."

Brian Min, assistant professor of political science, studies the political economy of development, with a focus on the politics of energy, ethnic politics and civil conflict. Contact:, (734) 546-6824. Bio: