Former US President Barack Obama has said India and the US can solve any problem if the two countries are working together. Addressing Hindustan Times leadership summit in New Delhi today, Mr Obama said, India played a key role during the Paris accord on climate change which was not only politically difficult but a right thing to do. He said, all nation have to work to lower the carbon emissions.
Mr Obama said, the partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies is a defining one. He said, India’s movement towards a more modern economy that would lift millions of people out of poverty is important. He said, US worked very hard to get India into the Nuclear Supply Group but it did not get the cooperation of every country on the issue.
Mr Obama said automation is the way forward and much of the world’s investment needs to head in this direction. He said, people can not unwind globalisation or pretend automation does not exist and there is a need to invest in people’s skills and education.
Speaking on terrorism, Mr Obama stressed that terrorism of any sort, directed at any country eventually affects everyone. He said, after 26/11 Mumbai attacks, US was as obsessed as India to dismantle the terror network. Replying to a query, he said, US had no evidence that Pakistani government was aware of Osama Bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan.
Speaking on the similarities between the two nations, the former US President said, values of openness and rule of law, freedom of speech are common in India and US. He said, India and US have thrown off the yoke of colonialism and constitution of both countries begin with the same three words, We the People.
On social media, He said, those who are leaders, it is important to be mindful about the power of technological tools and their limits. Mr Obama said, think before you speak, think before you tweet.
He said, for a country like India where there is a Muslim population that is successful, integrated and considers itself as Indian, this should be nourished and cultivated.
Obama was more direct in criticising Trump´s threat to leave the 2015 Paris climate accord on slashing global carbon emissions.
“It is an agreement that — even though we have a little bit of a pause in American leadership — is giving our children a fighting chance,” he said.
Trump has threatened several times to withdraw from the Paris accord saying it is crippling US business. He has called for the agreement to be renegotiated.
Obama would not be drawn into other questions about the US administration at the appearance where he called “destructive populism” a threat to modern democracy.
“The thing I love about America and I suspect the thing you love about India is just this cacophony of life and it throws up all kinds of variety,” Obama said in response to one attempt to force a comment on Trump.
“There are political trends in American that I don´t agree with and abide by but I recognise as part of a running thread in American life.”
Obama said he has become “obsessed” with the way news is handled and consumed, particularly by the young.
“We are more connected than ever before but … more and more we are fitting facts to suit our opinions rather than formulating our opinions based on facts,” said Obama, who was in China before visiting India, and next goes to Paris.