Chicago: A stronger relationship and a close strategic partnership with India will be a “top priority” of a Barack Obama administration, the Democratic presidential candidate has said.
“The U.S. should be working with India on a range of critical issues from preventing terrorism to promoting peace and stability in Asia,” Senator Obama said in an exclusive interview to IANS on Wednesday. “Joe Biden and I will make building a stronger relationship, including a close strategic partnership, with India a top priority.”
On his agenda for working with New Delhi, he said: “I also believe India is a natural strategic partner for America in the 21st century and that the U.S. should be working with India on a range of critical issues from preventing terrorism to promoting peace and stability in Asia.”
In the interview, Mr. Obama elaborated on a range of issues, from comprehensive immigration reforms and making globalisation and trade work for American workers, to seeking the active participation of the Indian American community in the process of change that he has advocated.
He said he would support “comprehensive immigration reform,” including the H-1B visa programme “to attract some of the world’s most talented people to America.”
Mr. Obama explained that he wanted to end abuses of the H1-B visas that are used by highly qualified specialists to work in the U.S. He added that he would make “immigrant workers less dependent on their employers for their right to stay in the country, and would hold accountable employers who abuse the system and their workers.”
The administration, he said, would seek to strengthen ties with the “vibrant” Indian American community and encourage their “active engagement... in making the change we seek.” He asserted that the Democratic nomination was running on the manifesto of “inclusiveness, optimism and hope” that would translate into a “progressive presidency.”
On the contentious topics of outsourcing and globalisation, he said: “We know that we cannot and should not put up walls around our economy.” Acknowledging that global competition “is a fact that cannot be reversed,” Mr. Obama added: “But we must find a way to make globalisation and trade work for American workers.”
Mr. Obama has deep roots in Chicago, having started his career as a community organiser in the city. From his days as an Illinois Senator, he has had strong links with the city’s growing Indian American community.