New Delhi: US President Barack Obama hailed India as an established “world power” Monday as he received a 21-gun salute at a red carpet state welcome in the capital New Delhi.
“India is not simply an emerging power but now is a world power,” Obama told reporters after inspecting a ceremonial guard of honour at the presidential palace.
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Obama was to hold talks Monday with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, deliver a major address to parliament and be honoured at a state dinner on the third day of his visit to India, part of a four-nation swing through Asia.
Obama said his talks would focus on counter-terrorism, building commercial ties and strengthening cooperation on the international economy.
Stressing the “core set of values” shared by the world’s two largest democracies, Obama said they needed to work together to curb the spread of terrorism, “in order to ensure that both the United and India are secure well into the future.”
Reiterating his belief that the US-India relationship would be “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century,” the president spoke of a shared responsibility to “promote peace, stability and prosperity not just for our two nations but the world as whole.”
During Monday’s talks, Indian leaders will be keen to hear Obama’s position on their country’s aspirations to win a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
So far, US officials have sidestepped the question of timing on the issue, saying India’s enhanced status must form part of negotiations to reinvigorate and reform the world body.