India, Pakistan’s enemy should be poverty : Obama
The following is an extract from the text of President Barack Obama’s news conference at the ExCel center in London following the G-20 summit, as provided by the White House:
Q: Hi, Mr. President.
OBAMA: How are you?
Q: Thank you for choosing me. I’m very well. I’m from the Times of India.
Q: You met with our Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. What did you — what is America doing to help India tackle terrorism emanating from Pakistan?
OBAMA: Well, first of all, your Prime Minister is a wonderful man.
Q: Thank you. I agree.
Q: I agree.
OBAMA: Did you have something to do with that, or — You seem to kind of take — take credit for it a little bit there.
Q: Really proud of him, sir.
OBAMA: Of course. You should be proud of him. I’m teasing you.
I think he’s a very wise and decent man, and has done a wonderful job in guiding India, even prior to being Prime Minister, along a path of extraordinary economic growth that is a marvel, I think, for all the world.
We did discuss the issue of terrorism. And we discussed it not simply in terms of terrorism emanating from Pakistan, although obviously we are very concerned about extremists and terrorists who have made camp in the border regions of Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan. But we spoke about it more broadly in terms of how we can coordinate effectively on issues of counterterrorism.
We also spoke about the fact that in a nuclear age, at a time when perhaps the greatest enemy of both India and Pakistan should be poverty, that it may make sense to create a more effective dialogue between India and Pakistan. But obviously we didn’t go in depth into those issues.
We talked about a whole range of other issues related to, for example, energy, and how important it is for the United States to lead by example in reducing our carbon footprint so that we can help to forge agreements with countries like China and India that, on a per-capita basis, have a much smaller footprint and so justifiably chafe at the idea that they should have to sacrifice their development for our efforts to control climate change; but also acknowledging that if China and India, with their populations, had the same energy usage as the average American, then we would have all melted by now.
And so that was a very interesting conversation that I will be pursuing not just with India, but hopefully with China and with other countries around the world. In some ways our European counterparts have moved more quickly than we have on this issue. But I think even the Europeans have recognized that it’s not easy. It’s even harder during times of economic downturn.
And so we’re going to have to combine the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency with rapid technological advances. And to the extent that in some cases we can get international cooperation and pool our scientific and technical knowledge around things like developing coal sequestration, for example, that can be extremely helpful. OK?
April 2, 2009, Copyright Associated Press