Obama pushes India against Iran, Myanmar
NEW DELHI, Nov 8: Dangling the promise of UNSC membership to India, albeit at some time in the future, US President Barack Obama urged New Delhi on Monday to first deliver on Washington's punitive prescriptions against Iran and Myanmar.
He also told a special sitting of parliament's two houses that although Pakistan needed to do more to curb safe havens of terrorism on its territory, the world also recognised that everyone had an interest in both an Afghanistan and a Pakistan that were stable, prosperous and democratic – "and none more so than India".
Mr Obama's prescription for India on Myanmar's human rights woes showed glimpses of hectoring, though he studiously
avoided commenting on rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir.
In fact, the Kashmir issue was not on his agenda at all, until an American journalist goaded him to comment on the dispute during a brief press interaction with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Mr Obama thus described Kashmir as an old dispute that needed to be addressed by the people of India and Pakistan. Dr Singh responded by saying that he was not afraid of discussing the "K" word with Pakistan though he would prefer it if Islamabad desisted from exploiting terror to press its policies.
However, Mr Obama lectured India on ways to deal with Myanmar and Iran, virtually as a dry run to prove its worthiness before becoming eligible for the UNSC seat some time in the future.
The United States and India can partner for global security – especially as India serves on the Security Council over the next
two years, Mr Obama said.
"We look forward to working with India – and other nations that aspire to Security Council membership – to ensure that the Security Council is effective; that resolutions are implemented and sanctions are enforced; and that we strengthen the international norms which recognise the rights and responsibilities of all nations and individuals…This includes our responsibility to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons."
Mr Obama said that together, the United States and India could pursue their goal of securing the world's vulnerable nuclear materials. "We can make it clear that even as every nation has the right to peaceful nuclear energy, every nation must also meet its international obligations – and that includes the Islamic Republic of Iran. And together, we can pursue a vision that Indian leaders have espoused since Independence – a world without nuclear weapons.
He then spoke of strengthening the foundations of democratic governance, "not only at home but abroad". Myanmar was in his cross hairs.
"When peaceful democratic movements are suppressed – as in Burma – then the democracies of the world cannot remain silent. For it is unacceptable to gun down peaceful protesters and incarcerate political prisoners decade after decade. It is unacceptable to hold the aspirations of an entire people hostage to the greed and paranoia of a bankrupt regime. It is unacceptable to steal an election, as the regime in Burma has done again for all the world to see."
Mr Obama said that faced with gross violations of human rights, it was the responsibility of the international community – especially leaders like the United States and India – to condemn it. He then advised India on its mission to spread democracy in the neighbourhood.
"If I can be frank, in international fora, India has often avoided these issues. But speaking up for those who cannot do so for themselves is not interfering in the affairs of other countries. It's not violating the rights of sovereign nations. It's staying true to our democratic principles. It's giving meaning to the human rights that we say are universal. And it sustains the progress that in Asia and around the world has helped turn dictatorships into democracies and ultimately increased our security in the world."
Of late, despite initial support to pro-freedom parties, India had been wooing Myanmar's military rulers to neutralise Chinese influence there. Mr Obama's demands are bound to leave it in a quandary.
On Afghanistan, he said the US strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates had to succeed on both sides of the border. "That is why we have worked with the Pakistani government to address the threat of terrorist networks in the border region. The Pakistani government increasingly recognises that these networks are not just a threat outside of Pakistan – they are a threat to the Pakistani people, who have suffered greatly at the hands of violent extremists."
The United States would continue to insist to Pakistan's leaders that "terrorist safe-havens within their borders are unacceptable, and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks be brought to justice. We must also recognise that all of us have an interest in both an Afghanistan and a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic – and none more so than India".
Obama offers $10bn deals to India with an eye on 50,000 jobs
By Jawed Naqvi
November 7, 2010
MUMBAI / NEW DELHI, Nov 6: US President Barrack Obama arrived in Mumbai on Saturday for a four-day visit to India with an economic agenda to create more American jobs, deepen defence and counter-terrorism cooperation with New Delhi, and to gently nudge his hosts towards an elusive détente with Pakistan that he needs to shore up a struggling Afghanistan strategy.
Mr Obama announced trade deals with India worth 10 billion dollars to create 50,000 US jobs.
He said he would relax technology export restrictions imposed after India`s nuclear tests in 1998.
Amid tight security, which reportedly saw water supplies to some Mumbai areas suspended because security personnel were scouring the underground passages, Mr Obama and his wife Michelle were ferried in an American presidential helicopter from the airport to a point near their hotel.
From there they boarded the presidential limousine for the last short stretch.
The president earlier paid tribute to the victims and survivors of the Nov 26, 2008, attacks in Mumbai that claimed 166 lives.
"As we look to India today, the United States sees an opportunity to sell our exports in one of the fastest growing markets in the world," Mr Obama told an audience of US and Indian businessmen.
Be a good neighbour, Obama tells India
By Jawed Naqvi
November 8, 2010
NEW DELHI, Nov 7: US President Barack Obama used a meeting with Indian students on Sunday to impart a lesson to New Delhi of the joy in being a good neighbour.
"It may be surprising, but I am absolutely convinced that the country which has the biggest stake in Pakistan's success is India," Mr Obama advised a young girl in Mumbai who asked why he seemed to be close to Pakistan and refused to see it as a terrorist state.
Saying that he was expecting the question during his meeting with college students in Mumbai, Mr Obama expressed the hope that India and Pakistan would resume their stalled dialogue and clearly hinted that it included the issue of Kashmir.
"My hope is that over time, trust develops between the two countries, that dialogue begins, perhaps on less controversial issues, building up to more controversial issues," he said.
Indian media have been angered that Mr Obama had shunned any mention of Pakistan in his Saturday speech at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel before survivors of the 26/11 carnage that was carried out by Pakistan-based militants. Instead he underlined that it was in India's interest to remove the "distraction" of insecurity, a euphemism for Pakistan-origin terror, in the region when it was moving ahead on the global economic stage.
"Obviously, the history between India and Pakistan is incredibly complex and born out of much tragedy and violence," Mr Obama said.
"If Pakistan is unstable, that's bad for India. If Pakistan is stable and prosperous, that's good because India is on the move,' he added.
Mr Obama is understood to have discussed the situation in Pakistan at a one-to-one meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who hosted a dinner for him at his residence in New Delhi on Sunday.
"India and Pakistan can prosper and live side by side, this will not happen tomorrow but needs to be the ultimate goal. The US can be a partner but cannot impose this process. India and Pakistan have their own understanding," he told the Mumbai students.
Answering a query on why Pakistan had not been declared a terrorist state, Mr Obama admitted that although "progress (in tackling terror) is not as quick as we like", Pakistan was an "enormous country" which was a "strategically important country not just for us, but for the world".
He felt that while the Pakistani people had "enormous potential", it was being challenged by a band of
extremist elements within its territory.
"We will work with the Pakistan government to eradicate extremism which is a cancer that can engulf the country. We think that the Pakistan overnment understands the potential threat that exists within the borders," Mr Obama said.He acknowledged that some elements in Pakistan that are affiliated with the Taliban, the Al Qaeda and the LeT were `irreconcilable' and said there needed to be a military response in a `significant, ongoing' way against those who perpetrated violence like they did in Mumbai and New York.
Answering a question on America's Afghanistan policy, the US president said a stable Afghanistan was necessary.
"India's investment in the development of Afghanistan is appreciated… I do think that there are lessons that India has to show to not just countries like Afghanistan but countries in sub-Saharan Africa," Mr Obama said.
While talking about India's role in Afghanistan, Mr Obama underlined that all the countries of the region, including Pakistan, had to share the responsibility of bringing about stability in that nation.
"Pakistan has to be a partner in this process (of bringing about stability in Afghanistan). In fact, all countries of the region need to be partners in this process and the US welcomes them. We don't think that we can do this alone," he said, asserting that "a
stable Afghanistan is achievable".
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