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Biden says Air India order for 220 Boeing planes will support 1 mn US jobs

New York, Feb 14 (IANS) Ahead of next year’s election, US President Joe Biden on Tuesday termed Air India’s $34 billion order for 220 Boeing planes as a “historic” deal that will support his agenda with one million US jobs and promote its lead in technology.

He linked the orders to his domestic plans to create good jobs for the working class, noting that many of the one million jobs “will not require a four-year college degree” and will be spread across 44 states.

Biden has been pushing for creating better-paying industrial jobs for the working class beaten down by such works going overseas, mainly to China, as well as boosting manufacturing in the US.

Biden said that Air India’s Boeing purchase shows that “the United States can and will lead the world in manufacturing”.

The reference to jobs in the US, which a White House official said will, directly and indirectly, amount to 1.47 million, can also offset criticism in the US of tech jobs going to India by showing that US workers also benefit.

The Air India order will have a total economic impact of $70 billion, the official said.

The Air India order is Boeing’s third-biggest sale of all time in dollar value and second in quantity, according to the official.

The official said that the order for 220 planes from Air India is worth $34 billion and covers 190 Boeing 737 MAXs, 20 Boeing 787s, and 10 Boeing 777Xs.

The agreement includes an option to buy additional 50 Boeing 737 MAXs and 20 Boeing 787s and if they go through, the total purchases will be 290 planes raising the value to $45.9 billion, the official said.

Air India, which is now back with its original owner Tata Group after last year’s privatisation, also announced a deal to buy 250 planes from Europe’s Airbus – 210 A320neo narrowbody planes and 40 A350 widebody aircraft.

The “historic” Boeing deal, Biden said, “Reflects the strength of the US-India economic partnership.”

“Together with Prime Minister Modi, I look forward to deepening our partnership even further as we continue to confront shared global challenges – creating a more secure and prosperous future for all of our citizens,” he added.

The White House official linked the announcement to the inaugural launch of the US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) launched last month.

The initiative seeks to expand the strategic technology partnership and defence industrial cooperation between the two governments, businesses, and universities.

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