Obama praises Gandhi in speech to Indian Parliament

by bharathi 2010-11-09 10:01:40

President Obama praised "the father of your nation" Mahatma Gandhi and noted his influence on Martin Luther King and the non-violent resistance that typified the American civil rights movement in his address to the Indian Parliament Monday.

"I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as president of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared and inspired with America and the world," the president said.

Earlier at a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in India's capital, New Delhi, Obama said the relationship between the United States and India is "stronger, deeper and broader" than ever.

The opportunities for cooperation between the nations will only grow as India gains economic power, Obama said.

"India isn't emerging. It has emerged," the president said.

He described a "growing trust" between the two largest democracies in the world, as they work to boost trade.
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"We make some of the best products in the world and we want to sell them to a growing Indian market," Obama said.

At the same time, those economic exchanges offer Indians the opportunity to build their businesses as well, he said, citing solar technology as an example for the potential to create jobs in the United States and India.

"We shouldn't be resorting to protectionist measures. We shouldn't be thinking of it as a one-way street," added Obama, who said India is not an economic "bogeyman."

Singh said likewise: "India is not in the business of stealing jobs from the United States of America." He called economic ties between the countries a win-win situation, as Obama did.

On Saturday, the president unveiled about $10 billion in contracts for U.S. exports to India. It is Asia's third-largest economy and one of the world's few growth markets.

Promoting broader trade relations with India is a delicate balancing act for Obama, given American frustration with the outsourcing of jobs to the country.

India's biggest challenge is infrastructure, said Singh, who said his country will need $1 trillion in infrastructure investments over the next five years. He expressed hope that United States will contribute toward that.

He also lauded American technology, saying that India needs U.S. know-how in the civilian as well as military fields.

Obama praised India's military support, saying that it had contributed to the war in Afghanistan and efforts to leave terrorists no haven.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama arrived New Delhi on Monday, with the prime minister greeting them on arrival.

The Obamas had a full day of events scheduled, starting with a wreath-laying at a memorial for Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi and ending with a state dinner with Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

In between, Obama is slated to address Parliament.

The Obamas are on the third and final day of their visit to India.

After India, Obama will travel to Indonesia, then to the G-20 meeting in South Korea and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Japan.

The Obamas are on a 10-day Asian tour.

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