India-US Could Be Defining 21st Century Partnership: Obama

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New Delhi: Former United States president Barack Obama on Friday asserted that the U.S. and India have many similarities between them and the two countries could be defining the 21st century partnership.

“India and U.S. have so much in common. The U.S. is home to millions of Indian-Americans and their proud heritage is at the same time combined with an incredible contribution they make in every field in United States,” Obama said while addressing a gathering of young leaders from various parts of the country in New Delhi.

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“Both of our countries are hugely diverse and we have got different languages, different background and different faiths but what else we have common is the set of values we believe in deeply and I believe that the partnership between the world oldest democracy and world’s largest democracy could be the defining partnership of the 21st century,” he added.

The former U.S. president said that lifting up and working with and training next generation of leadership not just in United States but all around the world is the central goal of his foundation.

Obama also noted that there has never been a better time to be a young person as it is now.

“There have never been more powerful tools to drive change, to make a difference, than today. There’s never been a better time to be a young person than today,” he said.

Emphasising that the world is a much better place today, Obama said that global life expectancy has grown by more than 20 years, childhood mortality has been cut in half and marriage equality is acceptable in many places now.

He further said that many people started without money, power and other privileges, and many of them were very young.

Mentioning the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr, Obama said that the former was barely 20-25 years old when he began activism against segregation.

He said that every nation should invest in healthcare as it is a key element in the economic base.

Speaking about technology, he said that youth are pioneering change through technology, which is a key to good governance.

Obama noted that it is harder to bring about change in the present political climate as “there is so much noise”, and said there is a constant contest going on for attention across the social media and airwaves.

He added that constructive debate was losing relevance in the social media and broadcast.

The 44th U.S. president, who held office between 2009 and 2017, told young leaders to find out what it is that people are concerned about and that will shape their efforts and agenda in a way to which people will be responsive to.

Underlining that there would be concerns about job creation in the near future, Obama said that the governments need to be more responsive and respond to this fact that there is a need to build models which will facilitate the transition to a new model to create jobs opportunities.

This is Obama’s first visit to India after Donald Trump became the 45th U.S. President.