Virginia (USA), Nov 4: Indian Americans residing here are of the view that India can and will play an integral role in keeping the American economy competitive, despite the ongoing meltdown on Wall Street and its impact on global economies.
While they are in agreement with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's views on what ails the economy and what solutions need to be applied to ensure a quick turnaround, they also warn that Obama will face the reality of the American economy's competitiveness once he enters the White House on November 5.
"Obama, when he becomes the President, is going to face the reality of the competitiveness of the American economy. And, India plays an integral role to keep it competitive," said Sanjay Puri, the Chairman of the US India Political Action Committee. "What candidates sometime say during the campaign and when they look at the reality of the world vis--vis the competitiveness of the United States, I think, it's the whole different discussion," he told ANI. Puri also felt that Obama, as president, might opt for a different approach to developments in South Asia as opposed to the Republican strategy of the past eight years. He suggested that the Democratic administration in Washington would pursue a proactive policy towards both New Delhi and Islamabad.
"Well I think he (Obama) is going to have a very strong policy towards India in the conversation that I have had and from everything we have seen. He has very strong feelings and regards for India. The one difference is he obviously has a very proactive approach towards Pakistan and that's something that's going to be different form what you see with other Democratic candidates as well as other Republicans like John Mc Cain," Puri said.
Pradeep Ganguly, Director, Department of Economic Development, Montgomery County, Maryland, said that most Indian Americans and Americans were searching for answers and solutions to end the meltdown, as also answers to where their country was headed. He suggested that there is an image of America in place that needed to be changed. In this year's elections, the Americans were not being driven by political affiliations, but by issues, and that is why so many more of them were coming out to vote as opposed to trends in the previous two elections (2004 and 2000).
"American people want to rebuild the economy. America was blessed with the strong economy for many years. Now, the economy is the biggest question mark in the minds of every voter," Ganguly told sources.
"The biggest issue in the minds of the many voters of Indian American origin for example, is where our nation is going? We used to be the most beloved country of the world. Now, in the last eight years or so, we have become more of a gun-toting, immigrant bashing country. And, that image needs to be changed. And there got to be a new image a new direction for this country," he added.
"And, I think, you can see the numbers that people are voting, I think they are driven by these issues. I think, we need to be more caring, energetic, more technology oriented, forward oriented and a leader of the world. We need to regain the strength and respect we had in the global economy. So that's what the next four to eight years is going to do," Ganguly added.
Voters have made it clear they want change. When asked what they are looking for in a candidate, most say someone who can "bring about needed change".
Nearly half of the American population (49 percent) says the economy will be the most important issue in deciding their vote for the 44th president. That is a large part of what makes this race an uphill battle for John McCain, as more voters trust Obama to handle the economy by an 11-point margin (52 percent - 41 percent).
Obama bests McCain on which candidate people trust more to handle all the domestic issues -- by 17 points on health care, by 11 points on energy independence, and by seven points on taxes. McCain is preferred on handling the war on terrorism by eight points and by a slim three-point margin on Iraq. Voters also think McCain would respond better than Obama to a "test" by foreign governments or terrorists in the first six months of his presidency. By Smita Prakash