Obama wants to build on close strategic partnership with India

May 22nd, 2009 - 11:54 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 22 (IANS) President Barack Obama says he looks forward to building on the close strategic partnership between India and the United States that will address the challenges of the 21st century.

Citing Mahatma Gandhi’s words “You must be the change you want to see in the world”, he expressed to India’s new ambassador Meera Shankar his belief that the United States and India can deliver this change.

The world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy are natural partners, Obama said as Shankar presented her credentials to him at the president’s Oval office Wednesday.

Describing the India-US civil nuclear agreement as a landmark achievement for both the countries, Obama expressed a desire to further deepen and strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

Highlighting the broad range of strategic interests and fundamental democratic values shared by the two countries, he noted that the process of strengthening of ties between India and United States has been sustained through two administrations of two different parties in each of their countries.

Conveying his felicitations on the recent elections in India, Obama expressed the hope that the relationship will continue to expand as his administration works with the new government in New Delhi.

He referred to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a very wise leader whom he respected and said he was looking forward to visiting India at an early date.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday that Obama “has not lately talked” to Manmohan Singh. But he recalled that Saturday “we had a statement based on the largest election and most participants of any election in the world, something that I think many can be proud of”.

Shankar too reiterated the desire of the Indian government to further strengthen the multi-faceted bilateral relations between the two countries that have recently witnessed a remarkable transformation.

She also underlined the commitment to democracy and the cherished values of individual liberty, rule of law, respect for diversity and pluralism, shared by India and the United States.

The Ambassador conveyed to Obama and his spouse Michelle Obama greetings from President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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