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India matters more than ever: Hillary Clinton
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
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February 04, 2008 22:02 IST

On January 20, 2009, the next president will take the oath of office and face unprecedented challenges starting on day one. Our economy is faltering. Our health care system is in crisis. And our respect in the world is at an all time low.

I believe we need a problem solver in the White House again. A president ready to roll up his -- or her -- sleeves to deliver solutions for our toughest problems.

That's exactly what I'll do as president. And one of the most difficult tasks will be taking our foreign policy in a new direction and restoring America's leadership in the world. As president, I'll reach out to our allies again and work with them to tackle global problems. And America's partnership with India will be among the most important.

The fact is -- from globalisation and nuclear proliferation to climate change and terrorism -- India matters more than ever. I believe our two great democracies must be strategic partners, bound together by shared values and common interests. As president I will work with India to make our strong friendship even stronger -- to the benefit of both nations.

And I am not a newcomer to this important work.

As First Lady, I traveled to India twice to represent the United States. I'll never forget my visit in 1995. In Ahmedabad, I met women taking advantage of microcredit to start their own tiny businesses and achieve economic self-sufficiency for their families. I was inspired by these hardworking women and moved by their hope for the future of their families and of India.

In New Delhi, I was warmly welcomed by Sonia Gandhi [Images], and at a speech at the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, I spoke about the importance of opening up educational opportunities to girls, as well as boys. And I was so gratified to see the progress India had made when I returned a few years later.

On my second visit, I went to Kolkata where I met with President Narayanan. We discussed the great strides being made to send more girls to school and to bring girls and women into the circle of economic and social opportunity. That circle is growing by leaps and bounds in India, encompassing more and more people, lifting millions out of poverty.

I am proud that the Clinton administration helped build a strong partnership between India and the United States and I was proud that president Clinton made that historic visit to India in 2000.

As co-chair of the Senate India Caucus in the Senate, I've been working hard these past four years to build on those efforts. And as a Senator from New York, I have been honored to represent a thriving Indian-American community, among the most successful immigrants in our nation's history.

I visited India in 2005 and have met with India's leaders both in the United States and in India. I also voted to support the US-India Civilian Nuclear Agreement to pave the way toward peaceful nuclear cooperation -- and to move toward greater cooperation to prevent nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

As president, I'll work to restore America's leadership in the world. And one of my goals will be to usher in a new era of partnership between the United States and India. We share so many of the same challenges and have so many of the same goals. Together, we can strengthen our economic partnership, combat terrorism, foster a stable and democratic Pakistan, advance democratic values, promote human rights, tackle global warming and address a host of other problems.

I believe, at our best, America is a nation that leads by the strength of its moral values. I believe in creating more allies and less alienation around the world. And I believe we can foster a stronger relationship between the United States and India to serve the values that unite us as the oldest and largest democracies in the world respectively.

I will not only meet regularly with India's leaders, but I will call on the Indian-American community to help build a bridge of cooperation between our two great countries. That will serve the United States and India and will help create a brighter future for the citizens of our two great nations.

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