Obama, McCain hail growing US ties with India

August 11th, 2008 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Barack Obama
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Aug 11 (IANS) US presidential candidates have hailed India-US ties and the contribution of the Indian American community. Republican John McCain supported India’s “growing partnership” with the US while Democrat Barack Obama described ties with New Delhi as “one of its most important relationships in an uncertain world”. The two leaders lauded growing India-US relations in messages congratulating India, its people and the Indian-American community on India’s 61st anniversary of independence. The messages dated Aug 15 were released ahead of India’s independence day Friday.

Joining “with Indian-American communities across our country in celebrating the 61st anniversary of India’s independence”, Obama declared: “It is only natural that the world’s oldest and the world’s largest constitutional democracies should enjoy strong relations.

“With India,” he said, “America has one of its most important relationships in an uncertain world.

“America and India share many common goals and interests,” Obama said. “America is India’s largest trading and investment partner, and both countries are working to protect their people and their values from 21st century threats while at the same time respecting the rule of law and cultural pluralism.

“Public health, education, agriculture, energy, strategic cooperation and technology are only a few of the fields where we should continue to work jointly,” he said.

Lauding the role of the Indian-American community in being the bridge between the growing ties between Washington and New Delhi, Obama said: Our strengthened relationship with India has been achieved in part due to the active involvement of Indian Americans.

“Indian Americans have been strong contributors to the local communities they have settled in around the country,” he said. “They balance love of the homeland with a strong commitment to America, and their knowledge, skills, values and entrepreneurial spirit have immeasurably benefited both countries.

“These efforts have played a significant role in creating a blueprint for bilateral relations that bring our nations closer,” he said.

“Just as the American Revolution inspired Mahatma Gandhi to free a great people, his victory (in India’s freedom struggle) has inspired generations of young people around the world to pursue freedom in their own countries,” said Obama, who keeps a bust of the Indian independence leader in his Senate office.

“As freedom faces challenges in many parts of the world, his example is even more relevant. This enduring legacy is one of the great gifts of India’s revolution, and I join you in celebrating it,” he said.

McCain said he supported “the growing partnership between India and United States and that is why I voted for the US-India nuclear accord.

“I will continue to work to strengthen the bond between our two nations; a bond that is enriched by the presence of the Indian Americans community in the US,” he said, describing India as “one of American’s closest democratic partners”.

“We are proud to count you among our friends and allies,” said McCain. “Your success as a democracy serves as a beacon for the entire world. It reminds us that the quest for freedom is universal.

“India’s recent economic achievements also remain a great source of admiration in the US,” McCain said. “They prove that the free markets remain the best instruments to defeat poverty and increase prosperity.

“The US stands side by side with India in the common struggle to defeat the radical extremism that threatens the freedom both our countries earned.

“On this anniversary of Independence, I am happy to share my felicitations with the two million Americans who have come from India and to all the people of India,” he said, offering his “best wishes for your continued success”.

In a simultaneous message congratulating Pakistan, its people and the Pakistan American community on Pakistan’s 61st birthday, Obama said: “America’s relationship with Pakistan and the Pakistani people is one of the most important relationships we have as we confront the challenges of the 21st century.”

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