India one of the centres of influence in the 21st century: Obama

India one of the centres of influence in the 21st century: Obama
United States President Barack Obama has added his personal touch to the strategic talks between India and Pakistan. He dropped in at External Affairs Minister SM Krishna's reception on Friday where he described India as a unique partner and one of the biggest influences of the 21st century. (Read: India an indispensable partner for US: Hillary)

"India is one of the centres of influence in the 21st century. Relationship between India and US is unique due to sharing of common interest, values and deep connections among our people," said Barack Obama.

Asserting that India is a rising and responsible global power, the US President said he firmly believed that the relationship between the two counties will be a defining partnership in the 21st century. (Read: Obama's statement)

"That's why a third of my Cabinet has already visited India. That is why officials from across my administration are a part of this strategic dialogue. That's why I want to thank you for the progress that we've made together since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit," Obama said before a select audience at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

"The United States values our partnership not because of where India is on a map but because of what we share and where we can go together. India is indispensable to the future that we seek, a future of security and prosperity for all nations," Obama said in his address to the reception hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in honour of the External Affairs Minister, S M Krishna.

Apart from the high level Indian delegation, the who's who of the Indian American community was present at the gathering.

"Michelle and I were honoured to welcome Prime Minister Singh and Mrs Kaur to the White House for the very first official state visit of my presidency. It was a State visit that demonstrated that our relations with India are at the highest of priorities for my administration and for me personally, as President of the United States," he said recollecting the visit of the Prime Minister in November. (Read: US President wants to create 'Obama Platter' on India visit)

"I said then that India is a leader in Asia and around the world. It's a rising power and a responsible global power. That's why I firmly believe that the relationship between the United States and India will be a defining partnership in the 21st century," he said.

"Moreover, the relationship between the US and India is fundamentally unique because, as our strategy explains, we share common interests but we also share common values, as the world's two largest democracies and as countries that are rich in diversity, with deep and close connections among our people," the US President said.

Obama said the two countries are deepening their economic cooperation on finance and investment and the trade that creates jobs in both of nations.

"I look forward to working with Prime Minister Singh and our fellow G-20 partners this month in Toronto as we work to foster economic growth that is both balanced and sustained," he further said.

Obama said India and the US are cooperating more closely than ever before against transnational threats.

"This includes making progress for the Afghan people, and preventing terrorism, whether it's in Manhattan or in Mumbai," he said.

"It includes securing vulnerable nuclear materials, a goal we advanced at our Nuclear Security Summit, where I thanked Prime Minister Singh for committing India to building a new Centre of Excellence for nuclear energy and security.

Our efforts include a stronger global nonproliferation regime where all nations live up to their obligations," he added.

The US and India are broadening partnerships between their people, especially in science, technology and global health.

"More students are taking advantage of our expanded Fulbright-Nehru programme. We're working to expand ties between our universities and community colleges.

We're partnering on agriculture and research to reduce global hunger, and to share India's incredible progress with other countries," he said.

Earlier, SM Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heralded the unprecedented and expanding India-US counter-terrorism partnership, as embodied in the recently announced US-India Counter-terrorism Cooperation Initiative to enhance collaboration, information sharing and capacity building.

Clinton reiterated the continued US commitment to provide full cooperation and support in ongoing counter-terrorism investigations, including through continued exchanges of information between designated agencies and by bringing the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack to justice. (With PTI inputs)

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