Obama concludes India visit today with address to youth

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New Delhi: US President Barack Obama will conclude his three-day-long visit to India on Tuesday.

Prior to leaving for Saudi Arabia in the afternoon, Obama will address a select gathering that will include young Indians, at south Delhi’s Siri Fort Auditorium.

During the address, Obama is expected to stress on the shared values of the world’s largest democracies and speak on how to tap the energy of the people of India and the US, and to turn that into positive progress on the issues that matter in people’s lives.

“The President will want to speak to how do we tap into the energy and the support in both countries for the relationship and turn that into positive progress on the issues that matter in people’s lives.

“When you look at energy, counter-terrorism, defence cooperation, efforts to create economic growth, these are things that have a direct bearing on the well-being of US and Indian citizens,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had said last week.

President Obama will also take time out for a small meeting with his fellow Noble laureate Kailash Satyarthi.

The White House said Monday night that Obama will meet Satyarthi, who along with Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the rights of all children to education”.

Obama had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

Obama’s visit to India has been a special one this time. It is second trip to India – the first time a serving American Head of State has visited India twice. Also, Obama has become the first US president to attend India’s annual Republic Day parade as chief guest.

Experts say the US president’s visit has underscored his determination to reinvent a relationship marred by a bitter diplomatic row in late 2013.

Although the trip has been light on substantive policy announcements, Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a breakthrough on a nuclear deal that had stalled under India`s previous government and have been at pains to demonstrate their personal rapport.

Obama, who hosted Modi in Washington in September, had said before the visit that the “stars are aligned” to realise a vision he outlined for the two countries to become global partners when he last visited in 2010.

Both sides want a counter-balance to China, with Modi seen as taking a more assertive line on India`s powerful neighbour than the previous government.

“People have long looked at this relationship and seen the fundamentals in place for a really, really close partnership, and yet it`s been a challenge in translating that into outcomes,” said Rhodes.

“There’s a large Indian diaspora that has thrived here in the United States. People have long looked at this relationship and seen the fundamentals in place for a really, really close partnership, and yet it’s been a challenge in translating that into outcomes.

“We’re both very diverse countries, and we both should see our diversity as a strength.

“(In) the US, there’s been a long history of ensuring that there’s broad economic participation and political rights for all of our minority populations,” Rhodes said.

Similarly, India’s diversity has been a great strength, its religious diversity, when you look at a significant minority population, Sikh population and countless other religions add to the tapestry of Indian society, he added.

“So I think the President will speak to the importance of diversity as a democratic value, and the importance of societies drawing on the talents of all of its people – be they religious majorities or minorities, men or women, rich or poor,” Rhodes noted further.

PM Modi has promised to revive India`s flagging economy to improve the fortunes of its 1.2 billion people, many of whom still live in dire poverty.

On Monday he vowed to banish the country`s reputation as a tough place to do business, promising a competitive tax regime and an end to excessive red tape in a pitch to US executives delivered alongside Obama.

Under the previous left-leaning Congress government, investors frequently complained about a hostile business climate in India, frustrated by bureaucracy and corruption.

Modi has gone out of his way to welcome Obama, breaking with protocol to greet him on the tarmac and inviting him to co-host his radio phone-in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ that will be broadcast on at 8:00 pm on Tuesday.

The US president had been scheduled to visit the Taj Mahal with First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday, but his trip has been cut short to allow him to travel on to Saudi Arabia and pay his respects to new King Salman.

(With agency inputs)http://zeenews.india.com/

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