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The Obama Interview: 'Modi has a clear vision for India'

Last updated on: January 23, 2015 15:18 IST
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U
nited States President Barack Obama is impressed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of the big things he wants India to achieve.

In an interview to India Today Group vice-chairman Shekhar Gupta, Obama said he was impressed with Modi's energy and readiness to address many of the barriers that have stood in the way of greater economic growth.

He also echoed India's stand on terror activities being harboured by Pakistan. He reiterated that even as Washington was working with Islamabad to meet the threat of terrorism, safe havens within Pakistan were unacceptable and that those behind the Mumbai terrorist attack must face justice.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

On relations with Modi:

'Prime Minister Modi's historic election clearly reflects the desire of many Indians for economic growth that is inclusive, good government that serves citizens, and education that delivers the skills Indians seek. And his remarkable life story -- from tea-seller to prime minister -- is a reflection of the determination of the Indian people to succeed."

'I invited him because I felt that it was important for us to meet early in his tenure so that we could take full advantage of the new energy and new hopes surrounding his election. He has a clear vision of the big things he wants India to achieve, and I have been impressed with his energy and his readiness to address many of the barriers that have stood in the way of greater economic growth'

On Indo-US relationship:

'No two nations agree on everything, and so of course sometimes India and the United States will disagree. But I believe that we can work through any differences in a spirit of mutual respect. When those of us at the leadership level agree on a course of action, our governments have to actually implement our decisions. We have to make sure that words are matched by deeds.'

'We can work together to support Modi's efforts to uplift Indian communities with cleaner air, more water, and more electricity, including under our civil nuclear agreement. We can deepen our security cooperation, including on maritime security in the Asia-Pacific. And I believe that part of being global partners means working together to meet one of the world's urgent challenges -- climate change.'

On terrorism:

'Indians were tragically killed on 9/11, as were Americans on 26/11. On my previous visit to India, my first stop was the memorial at the Taj hotel to pay my respects to the victims, meet with survivors and send a strong message to the Indian people that we stand together in defence of our security and our way of life.'

'I have made it clear that even as the United States works with Pakistan to meet the threat of terrorism, safe havens within Pakistan are not acceptable and that those behind the Mumbai terrorist attack must face justice.'

On the ISIS threat:

'The emergence of ISIL in Syria and Iraq is another manifestation of the threat I have been focused on-the evolving nature of terrorism. Today, the greatest threat comes from Al Qaeda affiliates, violent extremist groups and individuals who have succumbed to terrorist ideologies.

'So we are meeting this threat on many fronts. We are helping nations go after terrorist groups within their borders, whether on the Arabian Peninsula or North Africa. We are leading the international coalition to destroy ISIL. We are working with many nations to prevent foreign terrorist fighters from crossing borders and attacking our citizens.'

Areas of Indo-US cooperation:

'I pushed for elevating the role of the G-20 to give emerging economies -- including India -- a greater voice in global economic decision-making. And it is why I believe that a reformed United Nations Security Council should include India as a permanent member.'

'Technologies pioneered by Indians and Americans, often through joint collaborations, give us unprecedented opportunities to improve the lives of people around the world.'

'I am convinced that we can do even more together to promote agricultural development in Africa, fight diseases like Ebola and improve global health, and achieve our ambitious goal of ending extreme poverty.'

'In the Asia-Pacific, we can work with regional organisations to ensure that all nations abide by the same rules of the road. We need to sustain our efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and technologies.'

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