India, US can cooperate for global economic development: President

Monday, November 8, 2010

NEW DELHI - India and US should work together for global peace and stability and be partners in diverse sectors like international economic development, clean energy, food and health security, President Pratibha Patil said Monday at a state banquet she hosted for visiting US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

She also said the two countries have “responsibilities to work together for peace, stability and security in the world”.

“We have, therefore, enormous potential to work together for a sustainable and inclusive global economic development, to address the challenges of infrastructure, clean energy, food security and health security, and educate and empower the youth, especially our women, for the responsibilities of the new era,” she said.

Over 100 guests were invited for the state dinner. They included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi. Several union ministers, leaders of opposition in parliament Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and business magnates like Tata group head Ratan Tata.

Clad in a cream and green sari, Patil had Obama, Michelle Obama, Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and former president A.P.J.Abdul Kalam seated on her table.

Patil, in her speech, said: “Our two nations are well placed to harness the power of innovation, not only for technological leadership and global competitiveness, but also as a tool for economic empowerment and social transformation.”

“Today, we have built a strong strategic partnership on the solid bedrock of shared ideals and common interests. The historic civil nuclear initiative is an instrument and a symbol of our transformed relations. But, across virtually every field of human endeavour, we have explored new frontiers and redefined the paradigm of co-operation.”

Patil said that the two countries are at the “midst at a time when India-US relations have never been stronger and the promise and potential of our partnership has never been greater”.

“From different paths and different circumstances, Indians and Americans have reached the same conclusion: that democracy is a universal ideal and justice, dignity and opportunity are universal aspirations,” Patil said.

Drawing parallel between India’s freedom struggle and America’s civil rights movement, Patil said both the countries have inspired each other.

“The lives and message of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King reflect our shared vision, our common struggles and our collective hopes. Nothing echoes this better than the words of Martin Luther King, ‘If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable’.

“He lived, thought, and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony. Your own admiration for Mahatma Gandhi reflects this continuing philosophical bond between our peoples,” she added.

Patil also said nearly three million people of Indian origin in the US have acted as a bridge of friendship, including over 100,000 Indian students in the United States, are sowing the seeds of future partnerships.

Our enterprises, scientists, engineers, technologists and academics are creating partnerships that generate hope for the future, she added.

“I am pleased that today we have announced initiatives to benefit not only our peoples, but also fulfill our responsibility to humankind. We have the humility to know that we do not have all the answers, but we have the strength of our values and the benefit of our experience to make our own modest contribution to this cause.

“We must continue our joint efforts to reform global institutions to reflect contemporary realities, and increase their effectiveness in meeting current challenges.”

She raised a toast for the Obamas’ good health, prosperity and well-being of the people of the US and for further strengthening of the bonds of co-operation and friendship between India and the United States.

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