Page 53 - IACC Newsletter August-September 2013 Issue 13

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I think it's also worth noting that in the Security Council resolution there is an explicit endorsement of the Geneva I
process to try to deal with the underlying conflict in Syria and the need for a political transition there that can bring
about peace and allow the millions of people who’ve been displaced and harmed by this conflict to return to their
homes and try to rebuild their lives, and to rebuild a country that’s been shattered now by civil war.
So we are very hopeful about the prospects for what can be accomplished, but obviously there is a lot of work to be
done. I think rightly, people have been concerned about whether Syria will follow through on the commitments that
have been laid forth and I think there are legitimate concerns as to how technically we are going to be getting those
chemical weapons out while there’s still fighting going on, on the ground.
Nevertheless, this represents potentially a significant step forward and I think indicates what I had hoped for when I
spoke at the United Nations just this week -- that we have an international community that is not just gathering to talk
but also is able to take concerted action on behalf of enforcing international norms and preserving everybody’s security,
including those in the region and obviously the people of Syria themselves.
Now, I also want to say how glad I am to have Prime Minister Singh here today. He has been a great friend and partner
to the United States and to me personally during his tenure as Prime Minister of India. And I think all of us recognize that
as the world’s two largest democracies, countries that have for a very long time been invested in the peace and
prosperity of their own people, that there is a natural convergence between the United States and India. Part of that has
to do with the incredible people-to-people ties that exist. Indian-Americans make extraordinary contributions to the
United States every single day -- businessmen, scientists, academics, now Miss America is of Indian-American descent,
and I think it’s a signal of how close our countries are.
And what we’ve been able to do during the time that I’ve been President and certainly preceding me, throughout Prime
Minister Singh’s tenure, is to try to make sure that our government-to-government cooperation matches the great
affection and affinity that exists between the Indian and American peoples. We’ve made enormous progress on the
issue of civilian nuclear power and, in fact, have been able to achieve just in the last few days an agreement on the first
commercial agreement between a U.S. company and India on civilian nuclear power.
We have a wide-ranging security cooperation in battling terrorism, and something that Prime Minister Singh obviously is
deeply concerned about, given the impact of terrorism on India. All of us remember the horrible events that took place
in Mumbai, but as recently as the last few days, India continues to suffer from terrorist attacks. And our hearts go out to
the families that have been impacted.
We have enormous commercial ties between our two countries. And, in fact, bilateral trade between our two countries
has gone up by 50 percent just over the last several years, indicating the degree of progress that has been made. And
India, as a significant not just regional power but world power, has worked closely with us on a whole range of issues
from climate change to how we can help feed the world, alleviate poverty, and deal with disease.
We also had an opportunity to discuss the tensions that continue to exist in the subcontinent. We both have a shared
interest in making sure that Afghanistan continues on its path to a peaceful, democratic country, and both share an
interest in making sure that we help Afghans stand up for the rights of all groups inside of Afghanistan, that the rights of
women and minority groups are protected, and that the upcoming election happens in a way that maintains and
continues to strengthen stability in that troubled country. And we had a chance to discuss Pakistan and our shared
interest in seeing a peaceful reduction of tensions on the subcontinent, and we want to very much thank Prime Minister
Singh for what has been a consistent interest in improving cooperation between India and Pakistan.
So, across the board, Prime Minister Singh has been an outstanding partner. India continues to grow at an amazing rate,
but as Prime Minister Singh indicates, obviously there are a lot of people in India that are still trapped in poverty. His
primary priority has been to alleviate that poverty and give all the people of India opportunity. And we want to make