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US needs to gear up; India's not waiting, says Obama

world Updated: Jan 28, 2010 12:27 IST

Asserting that he would not accept second-place for the United States, President Barack Obama has given a call to fix "the problems that are hampering our growth" lest nations like India, China and Germany overtake it.

"From the day I took office, I have been told that addressing our larger challenges is too ambitious - that such efforts would be too contentious, that our political system is too gridlocked, and that we should just put things on hold for awhile," he said Wednesday.

"For those who make these claims, I have one simple question: How long should we wait? How long should America put its future on hold?" Obama posed in his first State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress.

"You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse, he said. "Meanwhile, China's not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany's not waiting. India's not waiting."

"These nations aren't standing still. These nations aren't playing for second place. They're putting more emphasis on math and science. They're rebuilding their infrastructure. They are making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs."

"Well I do not accept second-place for the United States of America, Obama said. "As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may be, it's time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth."

"One place to start is serious financial reform," he said calling for building a "strong, healthy financial market" while guarding "against the same recklessness that nearly brought down our entire economy."