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The critical points that Obama made in Parliament

November 08, 2010 19:04 IST
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United States President Barack Obama, during his historic address to the Parliament on Monday evening, made some vital comments about the changing relationship between the two largest democracies of the world: India and US. takes a look at some of those:

'US will insist Pak to punish 26/11 perpetrators'

Our strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates has to succeed on both sides of the border.  That is why we have worked with the Pakistani government to address the threat of terrorist networks in the border region.

The Pakistani government increasingly recognises that these networks are not just a threat outside of Pakistan -- they are a threat to the Pakistani people, who have suffered greatly at the hands of violent extremists.

And 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.

We must also recognise that all of us have and interest in both an Afghanistan and a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic-- and none more so than India.

'US won't abandon Afghanistan to extremists'

America's fight against Al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates is why we persevere in Afghanistan, where major development assistance from India has improved the lives of the Afghan people. 

We're making progress in our mission to break the Taliban's momentum and to train Afghan forces so they can take the lead for their security.  And while I have made it clear that American forces will begin the transition to Afghan responsibility next summer, I have also made it clear that America's commitment to the Afghan people will endure. 

The United States will not abandon the people of Afghanistan -- or the region -- to the violent extremists who threaten us all.

'US looks forward to a reformed UNSC with India as a permanent member'

And as two global leaders, the United States and India can partner for global security -- especially as India serves on the Security Council over the next two years. 

Indeed, the just and sustainable international order that America seeks includes a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible and legitimate. 

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.

Now, let me suggest that with increased power comes increased responsibility.  The United Nations exists to fulfill its founding ideals of preserving peace and security, promoting global cooperation, and advancing human rights.  These are the responsibilities of all nations, but especially those that seek to lead in the 21st century. 

And so we look forward to working with India—and other nations that aspire to Security Council membership -- to ensure that the Security Council is effective; that resolutions are implemented and sanctions enforced; and that we strengthen the international norms which recognise the rights and responsibilities of all nations and individuals.

'We welcome India as it prepares to take its seat on UNSC'

Together with our partners, we have made the G20 the premier forum for international economic cooperation, bringing more voices to the table of global economic decision-making, including India. 

We have increased the role of emerging economies like India at international financial institutions.  We valued India's important role at Copenhagen, where, for the first time, all major economies committed to take action to confront climate change -- and to stand by those actions. 

We salute India's long history as a leading contributor to United Nations peacekeeping missions.  And we welcome India as it prepares to take its seat on the United Nations Security Council.

'India has often shied away from global issues'

Every country will follow its own path.  No one nation has a monopoly on wisdom, and no nation should ever try to impose its values on another.  But when peaceful democratic movements are suppressed -- as in Burma -- then the democracies of the world cannot remain silent. 

For it is unacceptable to gun down peaceful protestors and incarcerate political prisoners decade after decade.  It is unacceptable to hold the aspirations of an entire people hostage to the greed and paranoia of a bankrupt regime.  It is unacceptable to steal an election, as the regime in Burma has done again for all the world to see.

Faced with such gross violations of human rights, it is the responsibility of the international community -- especially leaders like the United States and India -- to condemn it. 

If I can be frank, in international fora, India has often avoided these issues.  But speaking up for those who cannot do so for themselves is not interfering in the affairs of other countries.  It's not violating the rights of sovereign nations.  It's staying true to our democratic principles.  It's giving meaning to the human rights that we say are universal.  And it sustains the progress that in Asia and around the world has helped turn dictatorships into democracies and ultimately increased our security in the world.

'We can create jobs together, forge partnerships in defence, space'

In short, with India assuming its rightful place in the world, we have an historic opportunity to make the relationship between our two countries a defining partnership of the century ahead.  And I believe we can do so by working together in three important areas.

First, as global partners we can promote prosperity in both our countries.  Together, we can create the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future.  With my visit, we are now ready to begin implementing our civil nuclear agreement.  This will help meet India's growing energy needs and create thousands of jobs in both our countries.

We need to forge partnerships in high-tech sectors like defense and civil space.  So we have removed Indian organisations from our so-called "entity list."  And we'll work to reform our controls on exports.  Both of these steps will ensure that Indian companies seeking high-tech trade and technologies from America are treated the same as our closest allies and partners.

'We can pursue joint research; resist protectionism'

We can pursue joint research and development to create green jobs; give Indians more access to cleaner, affordable energy; meet the commitments we made at Copenhagen; and show the possibilities of low-carbon growth.

Together, we can resist the protectionism that stifles growth and innovation.  The United States remains -- and will continue to remain -- one of the most open economies in the world. 

And by opening markets and reducing barriers to foreign investment, India can realize its full economic potential as well.  As G20 partners, we can make sure the global economic recovery is strong and durable.  And we can keep striving for a Doha Round that is ambitious and balanced -- with the courage to make the compromises that are necessary so global trade works for all economies.

'Together, we can strengthen agriculture, fight diseases'

Together, we can strengthen agriculture.  Cooperation between Indian and American researchers and scientists sparked the Green Revolution.  Today, India is a leader in using technology to empower farmers, like those I met yesterday who get free updates on market and weather conditions on their cell phones. 

Together, we're going to improve Indian weather forecasting systems before the next monsoon season.  We aim to help millions of Indian farming households save water and increase productivity; improve food processing so crops don't spoil on the way to market; and enhance climate and crop forecasting to avoid losses that cripple communities and drive up food prices.

Because the wealth of a nation also depends on the health of its people, we'll continue to support India's efforts against diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, and as global partners, we'll work to improve global health by preventing the spread of pandemic flu. 

And because knowledge is the currency of the 21st century, we'll increase exchanges between our students, colleges and universities, which are among the best in the world.

'US and India can partner in Asia'

More broadly, India and the United States can partner in Asia.  Today, the United States is once again playing a leadership role in Asia -- strengthening old alliances; deepening relationships, as we are doing with China; and we're reengaging with regional organisations like ASEAN and joining the East Asia summit -- organisations in which India is also a partner. 

Like your neighbours in Southeast Asia, we want India to not only "look East," we want India to "engage East" -- because it will increase the security and prosperity of all our nations.

'US believes in the promise of India'

As you carry on with the hard work ahead, I want every Indian citizen to know: the United States of America will not simply be cheering you on from the sidelines.  We will be right there with you, shoulder to shoulder.  Because we believe in the promise of India.  And we believe that the future is what we make it.

We believe that no matter who you are or where you come from, every person can fulfill their God-given potential, just as a Dalit like Dr Ambedkar could lift himself up and pen the words of the Constitution that protects the rights of all Indians.

We believe that no matter where you live—whether a village in Punjab or the bylanes of Chandni Chowk…an old section of Kolkata or a new high-rise in Bangalore—every person deserves the same chance to live in security and dignity, to get an education, to find work, and to give their children a better future.

'Bohoot Dhanyavaad'

Over the past three days, my wife Michelle and I have experienced the beauty and dynamism of India and its people.  From the majesty of Humayun's Tomb to the advanced technologies that are empowering farmers and women who are the backbone of Indian society. 

From a Diwali celebration with schoolchildren to the innovators who are fueling India's economic rise.  From the university students who will chart India's future, to you -- leaders who helped to bring India to this moment of promise.

At every stop, we have been welcomed with the hospitality for which Indians have always been known.  So to you and the people of India, on behalf of me, Michelle and the American people, please accept our deepest thanks. Bahoot dhanyavad.

'Cold War days are over'

Just as India has changed, so too has the relationship between our two nations.  In the decades after independence, India advanced its interests as a proud leader of the nonaligned movement. 

Yet too often, the United States and India found ourselves on opposite sides of a North-South divide and estranged by a long Cold War.  Those days are over.

'I was proud to welcome PM Singh for the first official state visit'

Since taking office, I've therefore made our relationship a priority.  I was proud to welcome Prime Minister Singh for the first official state visit of my presidency.

For the first time ever, our governments are working together across the whole range of common challenges we face.  And let me say it as clearly as I can: the United States not only welcomes India as a rising global power, we fervently support it, and we have worked to help make it a reality.

Read here the full speech transcript

Image: US President Barack Obama addressing the Parliament on Monday evening

Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

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