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Obama bullish on growing ties

world Updated: Aug 11, 2008 22:52 IST
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Lauding India's economic achievement and democratic traditions, US presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain on Monday congratulated the country on its 62nd Independence Day and extended their support to the growing Indo-US partnership.

Issuing separate messages in an apparent bid to reach out the Indian-Americans, a crucial voting bloc in the November polls, the Democrat and Republican nominees for White House acknowledged their contribution, saying the knowledge, skills and entrepreneurial spirit of the community have benefited both the countries.

"I extend my heartiest congratulations to India, its citizens, and the Indian-American community in the United States on this 61st anniversary of India's Independence. Your success as a democracy serves as a beacon for the entire world. It reminds us that the quest for freedom is universal," Senator McCain said.

Observing that India's recent economic achievements remain a "great source of admiration" in the United States, the Arizona Republican also noted that India is one of American's "closest democratic partners".

"I support the growing partnership between India and United States and that is why I voted for the US-India nuclear accord and I will continue to work to strengthen the bond between our two nations; a bond that is enriched by the presence of the Indian Americans in the US," he said.

Obama also pointed out that it was "natural that the world's oldest and the world's largest constitutional democracies should enjoy strong relations."

"Public health, education, agriculture, energy, strategic cooperation and technology are only a few of the fields where we should continue to work jointly," he urged.

"With India," Obama said, "America has one of its most important relationships in an uncertain world."

The Illinois Democrat said "America and India share many common goals and interests."

Enumerating a few of these commonalities, he said, "America is India's largest trading and investment partner, and both countries are working to protect their people and their values from 21st century threats while at the same time respecting the rule of law and cultural pluralism."

In his message dated August 15 but released in advance, Obama also said America's strengthened relationship with India has been achieved in part due to the "active involvement of Indian-Americans".

"Indian-Americans have been strong contributors to the local communities they have settled in around the country. They balance love of the homeland with a strong commitment to America, and their knowledge, skills, values and entrepreneurial spirit have immeasurably benefited both countries," he said.

"Just as the American revolution inspired Mahatma Gandhi to free a great people, his victory in has inspired generations of young people around the world to pursue freedom in their own countries," Obama said.

McCain emphasised that "We are proud to count you among our friends and allies."

"The US stands side by side with India in the common struggle to defeat the radical extremism that threatens the freedom both our countries earned," the top Republican said.

"On this anniversary of Independence I am happy to share my felicitations with the two million Americans who have come from India and to all the people of India," he said.