Mumbai, Nov 7 (ANI): US President Barack Obama on Sunday said the partnership between India and the United States is indispensable in the 21st century, adding that the two nations share same values and interests.
"India and the US share common values of belief, dignity, self determination. The two nations have great potential to improve," said President Obama, while addressing India's Generation Next at St. Xavier's college here today.
"We have seen the resilience of the Indian people. India not a rising power, but has already risen. Half of India's population is within 30 years. That is amazing," he added.
On questioned about Jihad, President Obama said: Islam in the hands of extremists has been distorting. We must treat all religions at par. It is a challenge to isolate extremists. Islam is a great religion; over a million people practice it," said President Obama.
"We can learn to treat each other with respect and dignity. We must learn to observe faith without violence. There is a need to imbibe Gandhian," he added.
Talking about spirituality, the US President said economic growth and development can liberate people.
"Healthy materialism is needed for modern development. Public services can be frustrating but necessary.
Further talking about how Gandhian principles can be implemented, President Obama said Mahatma Gandhi is a great example for all of us.
"I want to take Gandhian principles forward and I do my best to follow Gandhi. His ideas help realize our potential. We can't ignore the hardships faced by others," he added.
When asked about change, President Obama said the United States has gone through the toughest two years and suffered economically.
"It requires me to make mid term corrections. India is critical in our economic partnership. India is a competitor. US always want rest of the World on our own terms. We need to compete on equal terms," he claimed.
After his interaction with India's Generation Next, President Obama and US First Lady Michelle Obama left for Mumbai Airport from where the Obamas' will leave for a two-day stopover to New Delhi.
Obama, who reaches the capital on Sunday afternoon from Mumbai, will have a busy schedule-visiting the Humayun's Tomb and Rajghat, meeting Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and addressing the Parliament before he leaves on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, will receive President Obama when he lands here on Sunday afternoon.
Dr. Singh personally took the decision to go to the tarmac at the Air Force Station Palam, next to the Indira Gandhi International Airport to receive the Obamas', who will arrive on Air Force One at 3.35 p.m.
This will be the third time that Dr. Singh will break away from protocol of not receiving dignitaries at the airport. He has departed from this on two previous occasions - In March 2006, when he went to receive then US president George W. Bush and before that, when he went to receive Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdullah Aziz.
The decision, according to one local daily, is an indication of how important the Indian leadership is seeing this visit by an American president.
During President Obama's tenure in the White House (since January 2009), India's relationship with the United States has grown in various sectors, and has been described by Obama as a defining partnership of the 21st century.
Obama is the fifth American president to visit India, the others being D.D. Eisenhower (1959), Richard Nixon (1969), Jimmy Carter (1978), Bill Clinton (2000) and George W. Bush (2006). (ANI)