Sunday, November 7, 2010

Obama Tweaks Same Old US Powerspeak During India Visit

Is there anything more exasperating and undeserved than Obama's tweaking of the same old US Powerspeak?
Brand Obama is new improved Brand Bush. Nobody in India should expect any better.

Fortunately our own leaders in India know better than to buy Brand Obama.

Here are the reasons why in India we don't buy Brand Obama:

1. The US has exploited Pakistan for 60 years ever since the John Foster Dulles State Department of the early 50's, right after Partition.

2. Pakistan, weakened at Partition, was manipulated by the US to further its own invented Cold War strategy against the former USSR. The US turned Pakistan into a dependent, occasionally defiant, but always subordinate client-state.

3. Any pragmatic initiative by India, to develop Amity and Concord with Pakistan is rendered nearly impossible by continued US manipulation of Pakistan and physical military presence in the South Asia region.

No matter how slick his dance moves, India does not buy Brand Obama

Dr. Chithra KarunaKaran
City University of New York (CUNY)
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYtimes copyright

MUMBAI — When Michelle Obama, the first lady, introduced her husband to a group of college students here Sunday, she urged them to ask him “tough questions.”
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They did.

“What is your take or opinion about jihad?” came the first question for President Obama at a town hall-style meeting at St. Xavier’s College. Next up: queries about spirituality, Gandhi, the American midterm elections and his government’s negotiations with the Taliban.

Finally, there was the question Mr. Obama confessed he had been waiting for: Why hasn’t the United States labeled Pakistan “a terrorist state?”

“Pakistan is an enormous country; it is a strategically important country,” Mr. Obama began carefully, before meandering around to a defense of his administration, in which he said its policy is to “work with the Pakistani government in order to eradicate this extremism that we consider a cancer within the country that can potentially engulf the country.”

The diplomatic response was indicative of the fine line Mr. Obama has walked on the topic of terrorism while in India. On Saturday, his first day here, he faced criticism in the local press when he paid homage to the victims and survivors of the 2008 terrorist siege in Mumbai without mentioning that the gunmen were Pakistani or suggesting, more broadly, that some groups in Pakistan pose a terrorist threat.

While the students at St. Xavier’s, a 140-year-old Jesuit institution in this pretty seaside city, were exceedingly polite to Mr. Obama — in interviews many said they admired him — they seemed unafraid to get straight to the point, even if Mr. Obama did not always get straight to his.

“Well,” the president said, tackling the opening question about jihad, “the phrase jihad has a lot of meanings within Islam and is subject to a lot of different interpretations.”

He carefully avoided saying he is opposed to jihad — commonly interpreted to mean “holy war” — and instead said, “I think all of us recognize that this great religion in the hands of a few extremists has been distorted to justify violence towards innocent people that is never justified. And so, I think, one of the challenges that we face is how do we isolate those who have these distorted notions of religious war.”

Sunday’s session, in a sunny outdoor courtyard surrounded by Gothic buildings, came on the second day of a 10-day, four-nation swing that will also take Mr. Obama to Indonesia, his boyhood home for four years, South Korea and Japan. He is spending the longest stretch, three days, in India. He left Mumbai later Sunday for the capital, New Delhi, where he was expected to address Parliament on Monday.

While Mr. Obama was dancing around questions — figuratively speaking — on Sunday, he also participated in some literal dancing, showing off some moves that, to the delight of photographers traveling with him, are likely to provide iconic images of his trip. Mr. Obama’s short performance came after student dancers doing a show for him implored him to join in.

The White House has cast the Asia trip as an economic mission that will also strengthen American diplomatic ties with emerging democracies and established ones; on Sunday, Mr. Obama also toured a small technology expo here with the aim of showcasing American partnerships with India in expanding agriculture.

Officials billed the college town hall as a chance for Mr. Obama to connect with ordinary Indians. But for a president still bruised from the trouncing his party took in last week’s elections, the appearance was also a chance to come before the kind of sympathetic crowd he now has trouble attracting at home.

“We call him the world king, king of the world,” said Chetman Rawal, 20, who studies commerce at the college. “I think he will change the world.”

It seemed a common sentiment. In interviews, students and faculty here uniformly spoke kindly of Mr. Obama, praising everything from ‘’his cuteness,” as one female student said, to his basketball skills, to his respect for “Gandhian principles.” On the question of how he applies those principles, Mr. Obama sounded a note of humility.

“I’m often frustrated by how far I fall short of their example,” he said, referring to Mohandas K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, all of whom he said he is studying. “But I do think that at my best what I’m trying to do is to apply principles that fundamentally come down to something shared in all the world’s religions, which is to see yourself in other people.”

Indians followed the American elections closely, said Father Lawrie Ferrao, director of the institute of communications at the college. But he said people here are more interested in another election — the one Mr. Obama himself ran in 2008.

“The admiration for him with regard to his campaign, his optimism, his charismatic movement and charismatic leadership, that I think has not faded off yet,” Fr. Ferrao said. As to the outcome of the midterms, he gave an explanation Mr. Obama himself might have offered: “He was given an economy which was unsustainable.”

The president himself, when questioned on the races, pledged some “mid-course corrections and adjustments,” , though he was not specific about his plans. But in his commentary on Gandhi, he offered a lesson he had learned, one that perhaps provides some insight into how he might be feeling these days.

“On this journey,” Mr. Obama said, “you’re going to experience setbacks and you have to be persistent and stubborn, and you just have to keep on going at it. And you’ll never roll the boulder all the way up the hill, but you may get it part of the way up.”
TOI copyright
Obama pushes India to talk to Pakistan
REUTERS, Nov 7, 2010, 05.56pm IST

Tags:Obama|Michelle|Manmohan Singh|Barack Obama|Abdul Basit
NEW DELHI: US President Barack Obama called on India on Sunday to bolster peace efforts with Pakistan that have floundered since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, relations seen as crucial to his troubled efforts to win the war in Afghanistan.

On the second day of his official visit to India, Obama faces a diplomatic tightrope in fostering ties with the growing global power, while at the same time helping Pakistan with billions of dollars in aid and promoting wider peace in Afghanistan.

Obama's first leg of a 10-day Asian tour has been hailed as moving the United States closer to India as Washington tries to revive a weak economy and gather support to pressure China on its currency. But on Sunday, India's worries about Pakistan dominated.

Peppered by questions from students at a college in India's financial hub, Obama toed a cautious line between the two nuclear-armed foes, saying both were needed to help stabilise Afghanistan where thousands of US troops battle militants.

"My hope is that over time, trust develops between the two countries, that dialogue begins, perhaps on less controversial issues, building up to more controversial issues," Obama told students under a hot midday sun.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit was quoted by news agency Press Trust of India as saying the United States ought to play an "effective role for an amicable solution of the longstanding issue of Kashmir" given close India-US ties.

Kashmir is at the heart of the dispute between the nuclear-armed rivals, who have fought two wars over the restive Himalayan region which they both claim.

The Mumbai attacks inflamed tensions between the foes, which have been to war three times since 1947 independence. India says elements within the Pakistan state were behind the rampage, when Pakistan-based gunmen killed 166 people in a 60-hour strike on hotels, a train station and a Jewish centre.

India immediately broke off peace talks with Pakistan, although there have been some largely fruitless top level meetings in the last year.

"India's investment in development in Afghanistan is appreciated," Obama added. "Pakistan has to be a partner in this process, in fact all countries in the region are going to need to be partners in this process.

"The United States welcomes that, we don't think we can do this alone."

India has given $1.3 billion in aid to Afghanistan, a policy that unnerves Pakistan which sees its northern neighbour as its own backyard of influence. India wants stability there to stop the country being used to harbour anti-Indian Islamist militants.

Obama said Pakistan was not acting quickly enough to deal with militancy within its borders, a view long expressed by many Indian officials who say Islamabad is hoodwinking Washington by taking aid while also backing militants in Afghanistan.

"There are more Pakistanis who've been killed by terrorists inside Pakistan than probably anywhere else," Obama said.

Obama will visit Indonesia, South Korea and Japan on the tour that will see Washington push to prevent countries unilaterally devaluing currencies to protect their exports, a top theme at the Group of 20 heads of state meet in Seoul next week.

Mauled in mid-term elections, Obama is trying to bolster exports and jobs by boosting business in countries like India, trying to show that US voters have more to benefit from India than fear from its cheap outsourcing industries.

To that end, Obama announced $10 billion in business deals that he said would support 54,000 jobs in the United States.

But on Sunday he called on Asian countries like India to open their economies more up to US firms. India restricts foreign investment in key areas like retail and financial services.

"It's not unfair for the United States to say, look, if our economy is open to everybody, countries that trade with us have to change their practices to open up their markets to us. There has to be reciprocity in our trading relationships," Obama said.

He said the United States was not making progress on unemployment quickly enough and he would take "some mid-course correction" after the mid-term elections.

"Unemployment in the US is very high now, relative to what it is typically. Although we are making progress, we are not making progress quickly enough," Obama said.

Earlier on Sunday Obama and is wife Michelle watched children in saris perform traditional dances. Michelle led an initially hesitant president to join in, mimicking their dancing moves as White House aides laughed at their commander-in-chief.

Later in the afternoon, Obama landed in New Delhi and greeted the waiting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a hug. The Obamas and the Singhs chatted with each other for a few minutes, before the president went for a scheduled tour of a Mughal-era tomb. The leaders were to meet for dinner at Singh's residence later.

Read more: Obama pushes India to talk to Pakistan - The Times of India

TOI copyright 11/08/10
text of Joint India-US statement Obama Manmohan
NEW DELHI: Following is the text of the Joint Statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama.

Reaffirming their nations' shared values and increasing convergence of interests, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama resolved today in New Delhi to expand and strengthen the India-U.S. global strategic partnership.

The two leaders welcomed the deepening relationship between the world's two largest democracies. They commended the growing cooperation between their governments, citizens, businesses, universities and scientific institutions, which have thrived on a shared culture of pluralism, education, enterprise, and innovation, and have benefited the people of both countries.

Building on the transformation in India-U.S. relations over the past decade, the two leaders resolved to intensify cooperation between their nations to promote a secure and stable world; advance technology and innovation; expand mutual prosperity and global economic growth; support sustainable development; and exercise global leadership in support of economic development, open government and democratic values.

The two leaders reaffirmed that India-U.S. strategic partnership is indispensable not only for their two countries but also for global stability and prosperity in the 21st century. To that end, President Obama welcomed India's emergence as a major regional and global power and affirmed his country's interest in India's rise, its economic prosperity, and its security.

A global strategic partnership for the 21st century

Prime Minister Singh and President Obama called for an efficient, effective, credible and legitimate United Nations to ensure a just and sustainable international order. Prime Minister Singh welcomed President Obama's affirmation that, in the years ahead, the United States looks forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member. The two leaders reaffirmed that all nations, especially those that seek to lead in the 21st century, bear responsibility to ensure that the United Nations fulfills its founding ideals of preserving peace and security, promoting global cooperation, and advancing human rights.

Prime Minister Singh and President Obama reiterated that India and the United States, as global leaders, will partner for global security, especially as India serves on the Security Council over the next two years. The leaders agreed that their delegations in New York will intensify their engagement and work together to ensure that the Council continues to effectively play the role envisioned for it in the United Nations Charter. Both leaders underscored that all states have an obligation to comply with and implement UN Security Council Resolutions, including UN sanctions regimes. They also agreed to hold regular consultations on UN matters, including on the long-term sustainability of UN peacekeeping operations. As the two largest democracies, both countries also reaffirmed their strong commitment to the UN Democracy Fund.

The two leaders have a shared vision for peace, stability and prosperity in Asia, the Indian Ocean region and the Pacific region and committed to work together, and with others in the region, for the evolution of an open, balanced and inclusive architecture in the region. In this context, the leaders reaffirmed their support for the East Asia Summit and committed to regular consultations in this regard. The United States welcomes, in particular, India's leadership in expanding prosperity and security across the region. The two leaders agreed to deepen existing regular strategic consultations on developments in East Asia, and decided to expand and intensify their strategic consultations to cover regional and global issues of mutual interest, including Central and West Asia.

The two sides committed to intensify consultation, cooperation and coordination to promote a stable, democratic, prosperous, and independent Afghanistan. President Obama appreciated India's enormous contribution to Afghanistan's development and welcomed enhanced Indian assistance that will help Afghanistan achieve self-sufficiency. In addition to their own independent assistance programs in Afghanistan, the two sides resolved to pursue joint development projects with the Afghan Government in capacity building, agriculture and women's empowerment.

They reiterated that success in Afghanistan and regional and global security require elimination of safe havens and infrastructure for terrorism and violent extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Condemning terrorism in all its forms, the two sides agreed that all terrorist networks, including Lashkar e-Taiba, must be defeated and called for Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. Building upon the Counter Terrorism Initiative signed in July 2010, the two leaders announced a new Homeland Security Dialogue between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security and agreed to further deepen operational cooperation, counter-terrorism technology transfers and capacity building. The two leaders also emphasized the importance of close cooperation in combating terrorist financing and in protecting the international financial system.

In an increasingly inter-dependent world, the stability of, and access to, the air, sea, space, and cyberspace domains is vital for the security and economic prosperity of nations. Acknowledging their commitment to openness and responsible international conduct, and on the basis of their shared values, India and the United States have launched a dialogue to explore ways to work together, as well as with other countries, to develop a shared vision for these critical domains to promote peace, security and development. The leaders reaffirmed the importance of maritime security, unimpeded commerce, and freedom of navigation, in accordance with relevant universally agreed principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and peaceful settlement of maritime disputes.

The transformation in India-U.S. defense cooperation in recent years has strengthened mutual understanding on regional peace and stability, enhanced both countries' respective capacities to meet humanitarian and other challenges such as terrorism and piracy, and contributed to the development of the strategic partnership between India and the United States. The two Governments resolved to further strengthen defense cooperation, including through security dialogue, exercises, and promoting trade and collaboration in defense equipment and technology. President Obama welcomed India's decision to purchase U.S. high-technology defense items, which reflects our strengthening bilateral defence relations and will contribute to creating jobs in the United States.

The two leaders affirmed that their countries' common ideals, complementary strengths and a shared commitment to a world without nuclear weapons give them a responsibility to forge a strong partnership to lead global efforts for non-proliferation and universal and non-discriminatory global nuclear disarmament in the 21st century. They affirmed the need for a meaningful dialogue among all states possessing nuclear weapons to build trust and confidence and for reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines. They support strengthening the six decade-old international norm of non-use of nuclear weapons. They expressed a commitment to strengthen international cooperative activities that will reduce the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons or material without reducing the rights of nations that play by the rules to harness the power of nuclear energy to advance their energy security. The leaders reaffirmed their shared dedication to work together to realize the commitments outlined at the April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit to achieve the goal of securing vulnerable nuclear materials in the next four years. Both sides expressed deep concern regarding illicit nuclear trafficking and smuggling and resolved to strengthen international cooperative efforts to address these threats through the IAEA, Interpol and in the context of the Nuclear Security Summit Communiqué and Action Plan. The two sides welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership being established by India.

Both sides expressed deep concern about the threat of biological terrorism and pledged to promote international efforts to ensure the safety and security of biological agents and toxins. They stressed the need to achieve full implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and expressed the hope for a successful BWC Review Conference in 2011. The United States welcomed India's destruction of its chemical weapons stockpile in accordance with the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Both countries affirmed their shared commitment to promoting the full and effective implementation of the CWC.

The two leaders expressed regret at the delay in starting negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament for a multilateral, non-discriminatory and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the future production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

India reaffirmed its unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. The United States reaffirmed its testing moratorium and its commitment to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and bring it into force at an early date.

The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to diplomacy to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, and discussed the need for Iran to take constructive and immediate steps to meet its obligations to the IAEA and the UN Security Council.

Technology, innovation, and energy

Recognizing that India and the United States should play a leadership role in promoting global nonproliferation objectives and their desire to expand high technology cooperation and trade, Prime Minister Singh and President Obama committed to work together to strengthen the global export control framework and further transform bilateral export control regulations and policies to realize the full potential of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Accordingly, the two leaders decided to take mutual steps to expand U.S.-India cooperation in civil space, defense, and other high-technology sectors. Commensurate with India's nonproliferation record and commitment to abide by multilateral export control standards, these steps include the United States removing Indian entities from the U.S. Department of Commerce's "Entity List" and realignment of India in U.S. export control regulations.

In addition, the United States intends to support India's full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes (Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group, and Wassenaar Arrangement) in a phased manner, and to consult with regime members to encourage the evolution of regime membership criteria, consistent with maintaining the core principles of these regimes, as the Government of India takes steps towards the full adoption of the regimes' export control requirements to reflect its prospective membership, with both processes moving forward together. In the view of the United States, India should qualify for membership in the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement according to existing requirements once it imposes export controls over all items on these regimes' control lists.

Both leaders reaffirmed the assurances provided in the letters exchanged in September 2004 and the End-Use Visit Arrangement, and determined that the two governments had reached an understanding to implement these initiatives consistent with their respective national export control laws and policies. The Prime Minister and President committed to a strengthened and expanded dialogue on export control issues, through fora such as the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group, on aspects of capacity building, sharing of best practices, and outreach with industry.

The possibility of cooperation between the two nations in space, to advance scientific knowledge and human welfare, are without boundaries and limits. They commended their space scientists for launching new initiatives in climate and weather forecasting for agriculture, navigation, resource mapping, research and development, and capacity building. They agreed to continuing discussions on and seek ways to collaborate on future lunar missions, international space station, human space flight and data sharing, and to reconvene the Civil Space Joint Working Group in early 2011. They highlighted the just concluded Implementing Arrangement for enhanced monsoon forecasting that will begin to transmit detailed forecasts to farmers beginning with the 2011 monsoon rainy season as an important example of bilateral scientific cooperation advancing economic development, agriculture and food security.

The two leaders welcomed the completion of steps by the two governments for implementation of the India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement. They reiterated their commitment to build strong India-U.S. civil nuclear energy cooperation through the participation of the U.S. nuclear energy firms in India on the basis of mutually acceptable technical and commercial terms and conditions that enable a viable tariff regime for electricity generated. They noted that both countries had enacted domestic legislations and were also signatories to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation. They further noted that India intends to ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation within the coming year and is committed to ensuring a level playing field for U.S. companies seeking to enter the Indian nuclear energy sector, consistent with India's national and international legal obligations.

India will continue to work with the companies. In this context, they welcomed the commencement of negotiations and dialogue between the Indian operator and U.S. nuclear energy companies, and expressed hope for early commencement of commercial cooperation in the civil nuclear energy sector in India, which will stimulate economic growth and sustainable development and generate employment in both countries.

Just as they have helped develop the knowledge economy, India and the United States resolved to strengthen their partnership in creating the green economy of the future. To this end, both countries have undertaken joint research and deployment of clean energy resources, such as solar, advanced biofuels, shale gas, and smart grids. The two leaders also welcomed the promotion of clean and energy efficient technologies through the bilateral Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) and expanded cooperation with the private sector. They welcomed the conclusion of a new MoU on assessment and exploration of shale gas and an agreement to establish a Joint Clean Energy Research Center in India as important milestones in their rapidly growing clean energy cooperation.

The leaders discussed the importance of working bilaterally, through the Major Economies Forum (MEF), and in the context of the international climate change negotiations within the framework of the UNFCCC to meet the challenge of climate change. Prime Minister Singh and President Obama reiterated the importance of a positive result for the current climate change negotiations at the forthcoming conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Mexico and affirmed their support for the Copenhagen Accord, which should contribute positively to a successful outcome in Cancun. To that end, the leaders welcomed enhanced cooperation in the area of climate adaptation and sustainable land use, and welcomed the new partnership between the United States and India on forestry programs and in weather forecasting.

Inclusive growth, mutual prosperity, and economic cooperation

The two leaders stressed that India and the United States, anchored in democracy and diversity, blessed with enormous enterprise and skill, and endowed with synergies drawn from India's rapid growth and U.S. global economic leadership, have a natural partnership for enhancing mutual prosperity and stimulating global economic recovery and growth. They emphasize innovation not only as a tool for economic growth and global competitiveness, but also for social transformation and empowerment of people.

Prime Minister Singh and President Obama celebrated the recent growth in bilateral trade and investment, characterized by balanced and rapidly growing trade in goods and services. They noted positively that the United States is India's largest trading partner in goods and services, and India is now among the fastest growing sources of foreign direct investment entering the United States. The two leaders agreed on steps to reduce trade barriers and protectionist measures and encourage research and innovation to create jobs and improve livelihoods in their countries.

They also welcomed expanding investment flow in both directions. They noted growing ties between U.S. and Indian firms and called for enhanced investment flows, including in India's infrastructure sector, clean energy, energy efficiency, aviation and transportation, healthcare, food processing sector and education. They welcomed the work of the U.S.-India CEO Forum to expand cooperation between the two countries, including in the areas of clean energy and infrastructure development. They also encouraged enhanced engagement by Indian and American small and medium-sized enterprises as a critical driver of our economic relationship. They looked forward to building on these developments to realize fully the enormous potential for trade and investment between the two countries.

Recognizing the people-to-people dynamic behind trade and investment growth, they called for intensified consultations on social security issues at an appropriate time. The two leaders agreed to facilitate greater movement of professionals, investors and business travelers, students, and exchange visitors between their countries to enhance their economic and technological partnership.

To enhance growth globally, the Prime Minster and President highlighted both nations' interests in an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the WTO's Doha Development Agenda negotiations, and in having their negotiators accelerate and expand the scope of their substantive negotiations bilaterally and with other WTO members to accomplish this as soon as possible. They agreed to work together in the G-20 to make progress on the broad range of issues on its agenda, including by encouraging actions consistent with achieving strong, balanced, and sustainable growth, strengthening financial system regulation, reforming the international financial institutions, enhancing energy security, resisting protectionism in all its forms, reducing barriers to trade and investment, and implementing the development action plans.

Building on the historic legacy of cooperation between the India and the United States during the Green Revolution, the leaders also decided to work together to develop, test, and replicate transformative technologies to extend food security as part of an Evergreen Revolution. Efforts will focus on providing farmers the means to improve agricultural productivity. Collaboration also will enhance agricultural value chain and strengthen market institutions to reduce post-harvest crop losses.

Affirming the importance of India-U.S. health cooperation, Prime Minister and the President celebrated the signing of an MOU creating a new Global Disease Detection Regional Center in New Delhi, which will facilitate preparedness against threats to health such as pandemic influenza and other dangerous diseases.

Embracing the principles of democracy and opportunity, the leaders recognized that the full future potential of the partnership lies in the hands of the next generation in both countries. To help ensure that all members of that generation enjoy the benefits of higher education, the Prime Minister and the President agreed to convene an India-U.S. Higher Education Summit, chaired by senior officials from both countries in 2011, as part of a continued effort to strengthen educational opportunities. They welcomed the progress made in implementing the Singh-Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative that is expanding links between faculties and institutions of the two countries and the expansion in the Nehru-Fulbright Programme for Scholars.

Noting that the ties of kinship and culture are an increasingly important dimension of India-U.S. relations, President Obama welcomed India's decision to hold a Festival of India in Washington DC in 2011. Recognizing the importance of preserving cultural heritage, both governments resolved to initiate discussions on how India and the United States could partner to prevent the illicit trafficking of both countries' rich and unique cultural heritage.

A shared international partnership for democracy and development

Consistent with their commitments to open and responsive government, and harnessing the expertise and experience that the two countries have developed, the leaders launched a U.S.-India Open Government Dialogue that will, through public-private partnerships and use of new technologies and innovations, promote their shared goal of democratizing access to information and energizing civic engagement, support global initiatives in this area and share their expertise with other interested countries. This will build on India's impressive achievements in this area in recent years and the commitments that the President made to advance an open government agenda at the United Nations General Assembly. The President and Prime Minister also pledged to explore cooperation in support of efforts to strengthen elections organization and management in other interested countries, including through sharing their expertise in this area.

Taking advantage of the global nature of their relationship, and recognizing India's vast development experience and historical research strengths, the two leaders pledged to work together, in addition to their independent programmes, to adapt shared innovations and technologies and use their expertise in capacity building to extend food security to interested countries, including in Africa, in consultation with host governments.

Prime Minister Singh and President Obama concluded that their meeting is a historic milestone as they seek to elevate the India-U.S. strategic partnership to a new level for the benefit of their nations and the entire mankind. President Obama thanked President Patil, Prime Minister Singh, and the people of India for their extraordinary warmth and hospitality during his visit. The two leaders looked forward to the next session of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue in 2011.

Read more: Text of joint statement of PM Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama - The Times of India
Obama Calls for India to Be Permanent Member of U.N. Security Council

Published November 08, 2010

| Associated Press

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Monday: A barefoot Indian worker sweeps the red carpet before the arrival of U.S. President Obama to a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India.


Monday: A barefoot Indian worker sweeps the red carpet before the arrival of U.S. President Obama to a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India.

NEW DELHI -- President Barack Obama backed India for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council Monday, a dramatic diplomatic gesture to his hosts as he wrapped up his first visit to this burgeoning nation.

Obama made the announcement in a speech to India's parliament on the third and final day of his visit. In doing so, he fulfilled what was perhaps India's dearest wish for Obama's trip here. India has been pushing for permanent Security Council membership for years.

"The just and sustainable international order that America seeks includes a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible and legitimate," Obama said. "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."

The announcement brought the loudest applause of Obama's speech. But it does not mean that India will join the five permanent Security Council members anytime soon. The U.S. is backing India's membership only in the context of unspecified reforms to the council that could take years to bring about.

That makes Obama's announcement more of a diplomatic gesture than a concrete step. Nonetheless, it underscores the importance the U.S. places on fostering ties with this nation of 1.2 billion people, something Obama has been seeking to accomplish throughout his time here.

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Obama said repeatedly throughout his three days in India -- first in the financial center of Mumbai and then in the capital of New Delhi -- that he views the relationship between the two countries as one of the "defining partnerships" of the 21st century. He set out to prove it by making India the first stop on a four-country tour of Asia, and then through economic announcements, cultural outreach and finally the announcement about the U.N. Security Council.

India has sought permanent council membership as recognition of its surging economic clout and its increased stature in world affairs. The U.S. endorsement is certain to deepen the ties between them and could also send Obama's popularity in India skyrocketing to a level comparable to that enjoyed by George W. Bush. The former president is seen as a hero here for helping end India's nuclear isolation.

The five permanent members of the Security Council are the U.S., China, France, the United Kingdom and Russia.

Debate has raged for years over how to change a structure that is widely seen as outdated and it is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. So it's unclear when India's drive for permanent membership will ever be realized. But backing it at all is a critically important move from India's perspective.

In another important gesture to India, Obama went farther than he had previously during his stay in addressing the terror threat inside Pakistan, India's neighbor and archrival. Obama angered some here when he visited a memorial to victims of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks but didn't mention Pakistan, which was home to the attackers.

"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," the president said in the address, to loud applause. "We must also recognize that all of us have an interest in both an Afghanistan and a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic -- and none more so than India."

Muslim-dominated Pakistan and Hindu-majority India have gone to war and remain deeply suspicious of each other. Indian officials accuse Pakistan's intelligence service of helping orchestrate the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people and say the country has not done enough to crack down on the Pakistan-based extremists held responsible.

Pakistan views India's ties with the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan as an effort by its old rival to encircle it.

Throughout his time here, Obama has taken pains to cast his visit as a search for U.S. jobs and benefits to people back home, sensitive to the priorities of U.S. voters who punished the Democratic Party in last week's midterm elections, in part over high unemployment. He touched on the theme again Monday.

"As global partners we can promote prosperity in both our countries," Obama said. "Together, we can create the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future."

Obama departs early Tuesday for Indonesia, the country where he spent four years as a boy. From there, he heads to South Korea for a meeting of the Group of 20 developed and developing nations, and then to Japan for a gathering of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. He returns to Washington on Nov. 14.

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