Obama bets on Modi, says deeper ties with India a key priority

obama-modi-smileAhead of his historic trip to India, US President Barack Obama has placed his bets on India’s reform-minded Prime Minister Narendra Modi and underlined that forging deeper ties with India has been a key part of his foreign policy since he took office five years ago.

“Prime Minister Modi’s historic election clearly reflects the desire of many Indians for economic growth that is inclusive, good government that serves citizens, and education that delivers the skills Indians seek,” Mr Obama said in an interview to India Today weekly magazine.

Mr Obama, the first Afro-American president of the US, alluded to Mr Modi’s journey from a tea vendor to becoming the prime minister of the country. “His remarkable life story — from tea seller to prime minister — is a reflection of the determination of the Indian people to succeed.”

Dispelling speculation about drift in the India-US ties during his presidency, Mr Obama said: “Forging deeper ties between our two nations has been a key part of my foreign policy since I took office. I recognised India with our first state visit, and I came to India early in my presidency, because I firmly believe that the relationship between the United States and India can be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”

Describing India and the US as “natural partners,” Mr Obama underlined that the world’s largest democracies can advance shared security and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. “As two great democracies, our strength is rooted in the power and potential of our citizens. As entrepreneurial societies, we’re global leaders in innovation, science and technology. Given India’s strategic location, we can advance our shared security and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.”

“When India and the United States work together, both our countries, and the world, are more secure and prosperous. That’s why, when I addressed the Indian Parliament on my last visit, I outlined my vision for how we could become global partners meeting global challenges.”

Mr Obama, the first American president to be invited at the Republic Day function, begins a historic three-day visit to India January 25 that is expected to accelerate multifarious relations between the two strategic partners across the spectrum.



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