President Obama spoke to a joint session of the Indian Parliament yesterday evening in New Delhi. The President said, "...At every stop, we have been welcomed with the hospitality for which Indians have always been known. So, to you and the people of India, on behalf of me, Michelle and the American people, please accept my deepest thanks. Bahoot dhanyavad."...I stand before you today because I am convinced that the interests of the United States -- and the interests we share with India -- are best advanced in partnership. I believe that.
"The United States seeks security -- the security of our country, our allies and partners. We seek prosperity -- a strong and growing economy in an open international economic system. We seek respect for universal values. And we seek a just and sustainable international order that promotes peace and security by meeting global challenges through stronger global cooperation.
"Now, to advance these interests, I have committed the United States to comprehensive engagement with the world, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. And a central pillar of this engagement is forging deeper cooperation with 21st century centers of influence -- and that must necessarily include India.
"Now, India is not the only emerging power in the world. But relationships between our countries is unique. For we are two strong democracies whose constitutions begin with the same revolutionary words -- the same revolutionary words -- 'We the people.' We are two great republics dedicated to the liberty and justice and equality of all people. And we are two free market economies where people have the freedom to pursue ideas and innovation that can change the world. And that's why I believe that India and America are indispensable partners in meeting the challenges of our time.
"Since taking office, I've, therefore, made our relationship a priority. I was proud to welcome Prime Minister Singh for the first official state visit of my presidency. For the first time ever, our governments are working together across the whole range of common challenges that we face. Now, let me say it as clearly as I can: The United States not only welcomes India as a rising global power, we fervently support it, and we have worked to help make it a reality.
"...In short, with India assuming its rightful place in the world, we have an historic opportunity to make the relationship between our two countries a defining partnership of the century ahead. And I believe we can do so by working together in three important areas.
"First, as global partners we can promote prosperity in both our countries. Together, we can create the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future. With my visit, we are now ready to begin implementing our civil nuclear agreement. This will help meet India's growing energy needs and create thousands of jobs in both of our countries.
"...As we work to advance our shared prosperity, we can partner to address a second priority -- and that is our shared security. In Mumbai, I met with the courageous families and survivors of that barbaric attack. And here in Parliament, which was itself targeted because of the democracy it represents, we honor the memory of all those who have been taken from us, including American citizens on 26/11 and Indian citizens on 9/11.
"This is the bond that we share. It's why we insist that nothing ever justifies the slaughter of innocent men, women and children. It's why we're working together, more closely than ever, to prevent terrorist attacks and to deepen our cooperation even further. And it's why, as strong and resilient societies, we refuse to live in fear. We will not sacrifice the values and rule of law that defines us, and we will never waver in the defense of our people.
"...And we'll continue to insist to Pakistan's leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders are unacceptable, and that terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks must be brought to justice. We must also recognize that all of us have an interest in both an Afghanistan and a Pakistan that is stable and prosperous and democratic -- and India has an interest in that, as well.
"In pursuit of regional security, we will continue to welcome dialogue between India and Pakistan, even as we recognize that disputes between your two countries can only be resolved by the people of your two countries.
"More broadly, India and the United States can partner in Asia. Today, the United States is once again playing a leadership role in Asia -- strengthening old alliances; deepening relationships, as we are doing with China; and we're reengaging with regional organizations like ASEAN and joining the East Asia summit -- organizations in which India is also a partner. Like your neighbors in Southeast Asia, we want India not only to 'look East,' we want India to 'engage East' -- because it will increase the security and prosperity of all our nations.
"As two global leaders, the United States and India can partner for global security --especially as India serves on the Security Council over the next two years. Indeed, the just and sustainable international order that America seeks includes a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible and legitimate. That is why I can say today, in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed United Nations Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.
"... And this leads me to the final area where our countries can partner -- strengthening the foundations of democratic governance, not only at home but abroad.
"In the United States, my administration has worked to make government more open and transparent and accountable to people. Here in India, you're harnessing technologies to do the same, as I saw yesterday at an expo in Mumbai. Your landmark Right to Information Act is empowering citizens with the ability to get the services to which they're entitled -- and to hold officials accountable. Voters can get information about candidates by text message. And you're delivering education and health care services to rural communities, as I saw yesterday when I joined an e-panchayat with villagers in Rajasthan.
"...Now, we all understand every country will follow its own path. No one nation has a monopoly on wisdom, and no nation should ever try to impose its values on another. But when peaceful democratic movements are suppressed -- as they have been in Burma, for example -- then the democracies of the world cannot remain silent. For it is unacceptable to gun down peaceful protestors 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 bankrupt regimes. It is unacceptable to steal elections, as the regime in Burma has done again for all the world to see.
"Faced with such gross violations of human rights, it is the responsibility of the international community -- especially leaders like the United States and India -- to condemn it. And if I can be frank, in international fora, India has often shied away from some of 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 is staying true to our democratic principles. It is 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.
"So promoting shared prosperity, preserving peace and security, strengthening democratic governance and human rights -- these are the responsibilities of leadership. And as global partners, this is the leadership that the United States and India can offer in the 21st century. Ultimately, though, this cannot be a relationship only between presidents and prime ministers, or in the halls of this Parliament. Ultimately, this must be a partnership between our peoples. So I want to conclude by speaking directly to the people of India who are watching today.
"In your lives, you have overcome odds that might have overwhelmed a lesser country. In just decades, you have achieved progress and development that took other nations centuries. You are now assuming your rightful place as a leader among nations. Your parents and grandparents imagined this. Your children and grandchildren will look back on this. But only this generation of Indians can seize the possibilities of the moment.
"As you carry on with the hard work ahead, I want every Indian citizen to know: The United States of America will not simply be cheering you on from the sidelines. We will be right there with you, shoulder to shoulder. Because we believe in the promise of India. We believe that the future is what we make it. We believe that no matter who you are or where you come from, every person can fulfill their God-given potential, just as a Dalit like Dr. Ambedkar could lift himself up and pen the words of the constitution that protects the rights of all Indians.
"We believe that no matter where you live -- whether a village in Punjab or the bylanes of Chandni Chowk -- an old section of Kolkata or a new high-rise in Bangalore -- every person deserves the same chance to live in security and dignity, to get an education, to find work, to give their children a better future.""...This is the story of India; this is the story of America -- that despite their differences, people can see themselves in one another, and work together and succeed together as one proud nation. And it can be the spirit of partnership between our nations -- that even as we honor the histories which in different times kept us apart, even as we preserve what makes us unique in a globalized world, we can recognize how much we can achieve together.
"And if we let this simple concept be our guide, if we pursue the vision I've described today -- a global partnership to meet global challenges -- then I have no doubt that future generations -- Indians and Americans -- will live in a world that is more prosperous and more secure and more just because of the bonds that our generation has forged today.
"So, thank you, and Jai Hind. And long live the partnership between India and the United States."
A transcript of President Obama's complete remarks is available here.