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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 3, 2006
President Discusses Strong U.S.-India Partnership in New Delhi, India
New Delhi, India
6:42 P.M. (Local)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. Please be seated. Distinguished guests, namaste. (Applause.) Laura and I have been looking forward to this visit for a long time, and we're delighted to be in India.
Over the past two days we've been grateful for your kind reception, touched by your warm hospitality, and dazzled by this vibrant and exciting land. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the Indian people. I'm honored to bring the good wishes and the respect of the world's oldest democracy to the world's largest democracy. (Applause.)
Tonight we stand on the ruins of an ancient city that was the capital of an Indian kingdom thousands of years ago. Today it is part of a modern Asian city that is the capital of one of the world's great nations. (Applause.) At the heart of a civilization that helped give the world mathematics, cutting-edge businesses now give us the technology of tomorrow. In the birthplace of great religions, a billion souls of varied faiths now live side-by-side in freedom and peace. (Applause.) When you come to India in the 21st century, you're inspired by the past, and you can see the future.
India in the 21st century is a natural partner of the United States because we are brothers in the cause of human liberty. Yesterday, I visited a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, and read the peaceful words of a fearless man. His words are familiar in my country because they helped move a generation of Americans to overcome the injustice of racial segregation. When Martin Luther King arrived in Delhi in 1959, he said to other countries, "I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim." (Applause.) I come to India as a friend. (Applause.)
For many years, the United States and India were kept apart by the rivalries that divided the world. That's changed. Our two great democracies are now united by opportunities that can lift our people, and by threats that can bring down all our progress. The United States and India, separated by half the globe, are closer than ever before, and the partnership between our free nations has the power to transform the world. (Applause.)
The partnership between the United States and India has deep and sturdy roots in the values we share. Both our nations were founded on the conviction that all people are created equal and are endowed with certain fundamental rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. Those freedoms are enshrined in law through our written constitutions, and they are upheld daily by institutions common to both our democracies -- an elected legislature, an independent judiciary, a loyal political opposition, and, as I know well here in India, a lively free press. (Applause.)
In both our countries, democracy is more than a form of government, it is the central promise of our national character. We believe that every citizen deserves equal liberty and justice, because we believe that every life has equal dignity and value. We believe all societies should welcome people of every culture, ethnicity and religion. And because of this enduring commitment, the United States and India have overcome trials in our own history. We're proud to stand together among the world's great democracies.
The partnership between the United States and India begins with democracy, and it does not end there. Our people share a devotion to family, a passion for learning, a love of the arts, and much more. The United States is the proud home of more than two million Americans of Indian descent, a figure that has more than tripled over the last 20 years. America is honored to welcome 500,000 Indian tourists and businesspeople to our country each year. And we benefit from 80,000 Indian students at our universities, more than we have from any other nation. Indian Americans have made tremendous contributions to my country in technology and medicine and business and countless other fields.
When I meet with the United States Congress, I talked to a brilliant Indian American who represents the state of Louisiana. I've returned the salute of Indian Americans who defend my nation in battle as members of the United States Armed Forces. And on a sad morning three years ago, we learned that a brave astronaut born in India had been lost aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. I know that India will always be proud of Dr. Kalpana Chawla, and so will the United States of America. (Applause.)
Americans are spending more time in India, as well, and it's easy to see why. India is rich in history, culture, and activities -- from the mountains of Delhi to the holy sites of Varanasi, to the studios of Bollywood. Today I met with a fascinating group of students and farmers and entrepreneurs in Hyderabad -- plus it was exciting to be in the hometown of Sania Mirza. (Applause.) To encourage more travel and more contact between our people, the United States intends to open a new consulate in Hyderabad. We'll also build a new state-of-the-art American Center here in Delhi. By taking these steps we'll continue to strengthen the ties between our two countries, our two democracies.
At the start of this young century, the United States of America and the Republic of India are working together to achieve two great purposes, to expand the circle of prosperity and development across the world, and to defeat our common enemies by advancing the just and noble cause of human freedom.
Our first great purpose is to spread prosperity and opportunity to people in our own land, to millions who have not known it. The freedom that sustains India's democracy is now bringing dramatic changes to India's economy. Thanks to your country's wise economic reforms and advances in technology, unprecedented opportunities are coming to India, and you are seizing those opportunities.
India's innovative people have begun to look outward and connect to the global economy as never before. Today, India has more cell phones than land-line phones. And all that separates a business in Bangalore from a business in Boston is an email, a text message, or video conference. Indian entrepreneurs have used these new connections to meet the demands of consumers and businesses all across the globe. As a result, your economy has more than doubled in size since you opened up your markets in 1991. You've dramatically raised the living standards of your citizens. India's middle class now numbers 300 million people, more than the entire population of the United States.
America welcomes India's economic rise, because we understand that as other nations prosper, it creates more opportunity for us all. In a free economy, every citizen has something to contribute. That is why trade is such a powerful engine of prosperity and upward mobility. When markets are opened and the poor are given a chance to develop their talents and abilities, they can create a better life for their families, they add to the wealth of the world, and they can begin to afford goods and services from other nations. Free and fair trade is good for India, it's good for America, and it is good for the world.
In my country, some focus only on one aspect of our trade relationship with India: outsourcing. It's true that some Americans have lost jobs when their companies moved operations overseas. It's also important to remember that when someone loses a job, it's an incredibly difficult period for the worker and their families. Some people believe the answer to this problem is to wall off our economy from the world through protectionist policies. I strongly disagree. My government is helping Americans who have lost their jobs get new skills for new careers. And we're helping to create millions of new jobs in both our countries by embracing the opportunities of a global economy.
We see those opportunities here in India. Americans who come to this country will see Indian consumers buying McCurry Meals from McDonald's, home appliances from Whirlpool. They will see Indian businesses buying American products like the 68 planes that Air India recently order from Boeing. They will also see American businesses like General Electric and Microsoft and Intel who are in India to learn about the needs of local customers and do vital research that makes their products more competitive in world markets. The United States will not give into the protectionists and lose these opportunities. For the sake of workers in both our countries, America will trade with confidence. (Applause.)
India has responsibilities, as well. India needs to continue to lift its caps on foreign investment, to make its rules and regulations more transparent, and to continue to lower its tariffs and open its markets to American agricultural products, industrial goods and services. We also hope India will continue to work to ensure that its own people are treated fairly by enforcing laws that protect children and workers from trafficking and exploitation and abuse. By enforcing its laws and educating its people and continuing to open up its economy, India can assure that prosperity and opportunity of a growing economy reaches all segments of India's population.
The world also needs India's leadership to open up global markets. The Doha Round of trade talks at the World Trade Organization provides the greatest opportunity to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and boost economic growth in both our countries. The United States has been pushing for an ambitious agreement on services and manufacturing and agriculture. Prime Minister Singh and I share the goal of completing the Doha Round by the end of this year, and we'll work together to achieve this goal. By completing Doha we will help build a world that lives in liberty, and trades in freedom, and grows in prosperity, and America and India will lead the way. (Applause.)
By leading together, America and India can meet other global challenges, and one of the biggest is energy. Like America, India's growing economy requires growing amounts of electricity. And the cleanest and most reliable way to meet that need is through civilian nuclear power. Last summer in Washington, America and India reached an agreement to share civilian nuclear technology and to bring India's civilian nuclear programs under the safeguards of the International Atomic Agency. In our meetings this week, Prime Minister Singh and I agreed on a plan to implement this historic initiative. Our agreement will strengthen the security and the economy of both our nations. (Applause.)
By applying the most advanced technology and international standards to India's civilian nuclear program, we will increase safety and reduce the risk of proliferation. And by helping India meet its energy needs, we will take the pressure off the price of fossil fuels for consumers in India and America and around the world. We'll help India be good stewards of our environment, and we will strengthen the bonds of trust between our two great nations. (Applause.)
America and India are also cooperating closely in agriculture. The United States worked with India to help meet its food needs in the 1960s, when pioneering American scientists like Norman Borlaug shared agriculture technology with Indian farmers. Thanks to your hard work, you have nearly tripled your food production over the past half-century. To build on this progress, Prime Minister Singh and I are launching a new Agricultural Knowledge Initiative. This initiative will invest $100 million to encourage exchanges between American and Indian scientists and promote joint research to improve farming technology. By working together the United States and India will develop better ways to grow crops and get them to market, and lead a second Green Revolution. (Applause.)
America and India are pursuing an historic agenda for cooperation in many other areas. We're working together to improve education and conservation and natural disaster response. We're cooperating closely in science and technology. And to promote the ties between American and Indian scientists, we're establishing a new $30-million science and technology commission that will fund joint research in promising areas like biotechnology. (Applause.)
We're working to improve health by confronting the threat of avian flu, reducing the spread of malaria and tuberculosis, and eliminating polio in India. Our nations also share the global challenge of HIV/AIDS. India must confront this challenge directly, openly, and at all levels of society. And as you do, America will be your partner in turning the tide against this terrible disease. (Applause.)
The United States and India have ambitious goals for our partnership. We have unprecedented opportunities in this world. We can look to the future with confidence because our relationship has never been better. America and India are global leaders and we are good friends, and when we work together, there is no limit to what we can achieve. (Applause.)
The second great purpose is to confront the threats of our time by fighting terror and advancing freedom across the globe. Both our nations have known the pain of terror on our home soil. On September the 11th, 2001, nearly 3,000 innocent people were murdered in my country, including more than 30 who were born in India. Just over three months ago [sic], terrorists struck the Parliament House here in Delhi, an attack on the heart of Indian democracy.
In both our countries, people have struggled to understand the reason for terrorist assaults on free societies. We've begun to learn some of the answers. The terrorists are followers of a violent ideology that calls for the murder of Christians and Hindus and Sikhs and Jews, and vast numbers of Muslims who do not share their radical views. The terrorists' goal is to impose a hateful vision that denies all political and religious freedom. Those terrorists lack the military strength to challenge great nations directly, so they use the weapon of fear. When terrorists murder innocent office workers in New York, or kill shoppers at a market in Delhi, or blow up commuters in London, they hope these horror will break our will. They target democracies because they think we are weak and they think we can be frightened into retreat. The terrorists have misunderstood our countries. America and India love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it. (Applause.)
When your Prime Minister addressed the United States Congress, he said this: "We must fight terrorism wherever it exists, because terrorism anywhere threatens democracy everywhere." He is right. And so America and India are allies in the war against terror. (Applause.)
After the attacks of September the 11th, the Indian Navy provided vital support to Operation Enduring Freedom by relieving American ships securing the Strait of Malacca, and we thank the Indian Navy. Today, our nations are cooperating closely on critical areas like bioterrorism and airport security and cyber security. Our military cooperation is stronger than ever before. America and India are in this war together, and we will win this war together. (Applause.)
In the long run, the United States and India understand that winning the war on terror requires changing the conditions that give rise to terror. History shows us the way. From the East to West, we've seen that only one force is powerful enough to replace hatred with hope, and that is the force of human freedom. Free societies do not harbor terrorists or breed resentment. Free societies respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors. Free societies are peaceful societies.
As your first Prime Minister, Prime Minister Nehru, once said: "Evil flourishes far more in the shadows than in the light of day." Together, America and India will bring the light of freedom to the darkest corners of our Earth. (Applause.)
Nearly 60 years have passed since India mounted a courageous fight for a free country of your own. The American people stood with you in the struggle for freedom. President Franklin Roosevelt was one of the first world leaders to support India's independence. Through the decades, India has built a strong democracy in which people from different faiths live together in freedom and peace.
India has a Hindu majority, and one of the world's largest Muslim populations. India is also home to millions of Sikhs and Christians and other religious groups. All worship freely in temples and mosques and churches all across this great land. Indians of diverse backgrounds attend school together and work together and govern your nation together. As a multi-ethnic, multi-religious democracy, India is showing the world that the best way to ensure fairness and tolerance is to establish the rule of law. (Applause.) The best way to counter resentment is to allow peaceful expression. The best way to honor human dignity is to protect human rights. For every nation divided by race, religion or culture, India offers a hopeful path: If justice is the goal, then democracy is the way. (Applause.)
The world has benefitted from the example of India's democracy, and now the world needs India's leadership in freedom's cause. As a global power, India has an historic duty to support democracy around the world. In Afghanistan, which I just visited on Wednesday, the world is beginning to see what India's leadership can accomplish. Since the Taliban was removed from power, India has pledged $565 million to help the Afghan people to get back on their feet. Your country has trained National Assembly staff, and developing a similar program for the Assembly's elected leaders. You recently announced that you'll provide an additional $50 million to help the Afghans complete their National Assembly building. After so many years of suffering, the Afghan people are reclaiming a future of hope and freedom, and they will always remember that in their hour of need, India stood with them. (Applause.)
India is also showing its leadership in the cause of democracy by co-founding the Global Democracy Initiative. Prime Minister Singh and I were proud to be the first two contributors to this initiative to promote democracy and development across the world. Now India can build on this commitment by working directly with nations where democracy is just beginning to emerge. As the world's young democracies take shape, India offers a compelling example of how to preserve a country's unique culture and history while guaranteeing the universal freedoms that are the foundation of genuine democracies.
India's leadership is needed in a world that is hungry for freedom. Men and women from North Korea to Burma to Syria to Zimbabwe to Cuba yearn for their liberty. In Iran, a proud people is held hostage by a small clerical elite that denies basic liberties, sponsors terrorism, and pursues nuclear weapons. Our nations must not pretend that the people of these countries prefer their own enslavement. We must stand with reformers and dissidents and civil society organizations, and hasten the day when the people of these nations can determine their own future and choose their own leaders. These people may not gain their liberty overnight, but history is on their side. (Applause.)
Tonight I will leave India to travel to Pakistan, another important partner and friend of the United States. There was a time when America's good relations with Pakistan would have been a source of concern here in India. That day is passed. India is better off because America has a close relationship with Pakistan, and Pakistan is better off because America has a close relation with India. On my trip to Islamabad, I will meet with President Musharraf to discuss Pakistan's vital cooperation in the war on terror and our efforts to foster economic and political development so we can reduce the appeal of radical Islam. I believe that a prosperous, democratic Pakistan will be a steadfast partner for America, a peaceful neighbor for India, and a force for freedom and moderation in the Arab world.
The advance for freedom is the great story of our time. In 1945, just two years before India achieved independence, there were fewer than two dozen democracies on Earth. Today there are more than 100, and democracies are developing and thriving from Asia to Africa, to Eastern Europe, to Latin America. The whole world can see that freedom is not an American value, or an Indian value. Freedom is a universal value, and that is because the source of freedom is a power greater than our own. Mahatma Gandhi said, "Freedom is the gift of God...and the right of every nation." Let us remember those words as we head into the 21st century. (Applause.)
In a few days, I'll return to America, and I will never forget my time here in India. America is proud to call your democracy a friend. We're optimistic about your future. The great Indian poet Tagore once wrote, "There's only one history -- the history of man." The United States and India go forward with faith in those words. There's only one history of man -- and it leads to freedom.
May God bless India. (Applause.)
END 7:09 P.M. Local