India and America can be best partners as the world’s largest and oldest democracies are linked by shared values and dreams, said US President Barack Obama on his last public engagement in a town-hall meeting in Delhi as he wrapped up a three-day visit to India
Conjuring up a big picture view of what he called “one of the defining partnerships of this century,” Mr Obama looked fresh and radiant on a chilly winter morning as he spoke to an audience of young people and outlined what India and the US can do together to build a safe, secure and prosperous world.
“Of course, only Indians can decide India’s role in the world. But I’m here because I am absolutely convinced that both our peoples will have more jobs and opportunity, our nations will be more secure, and the world will be a safer and more just place when our two democracies stand together,” Mr Obama said, to much applause from audience.
Sketching out a broad canvas of global issues on which the two strategic partners can work together, Mr Obama enlisted India’s support for a global climate deal and warned that the world does not “stand a chance against climate change” unless developing and emerging countries like India reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
“I know the argument made by some, that it’s unfair for countries like the United States to ask developing nations and emerging economies like India to reduce your dependence on the same fossil fuels that helped power our growth for more than a century,” Obama said.
“But here’s the truth: even if countries like the United States curb our emissions, if growing countries like India — with soaring energy needs — don’t also embrace cleaner fuels, then we don’t stand a chance against climate change.”
Obama’s speech was his final engagement in a three-day trip that saw a marked reinvigoration of bilateral ties across the spectrum and the resolution of the liability impasse over the commercial implementation of the landmark nuclear deal, that transformed the relations between the two democracies ten years ago.
After his speech, Mr Obama, accompanied by First Lady Michelle, circulated among the audience, shaking hands, with the besotted audience frenziedly clicking photographs to cherish their Obama moment.
Highlights of President Obama’s speech
President Obama’s speech was the epitome of his trademark eloquence. Here are some excerpts and highlights from his memorable speech delivered at the Sirifort Auditorium in New Delhi on January 25:
Thank you for having us in India for a second time. Bahut, dhanyavaad
Relationship between US-India can be one of the defining partnerships of the century
We are not perfect countries, have known tragedies and triumphs. We have lot of challenges, but our 2 nation posses the key to progress and we strive to move towards a better tomorrow
India represents an intersection of two people who inspire me — Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi
We are one of the few nations who have gone both to the moon and Mars
Last time we celebrated festival of lights in Mumbai, danced with some children, unfortunately we couldn’t arrange dancing this time.
We want to be your partner as you help improve the health of people from backwaters of Kerala to banks of Ganga
A world without nuclear weapons — that should be the goal for us.
Both nations have felt the brunt of terrorism. We can unite to defend ourselves
We would want a United Nation Security Council that includes India as a permanent member
India will succeed so long it is not splintered on religious lines
I am the first US President to visit India twice. I promise I won’t be the last
We believe in promise and people of India
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