Sunday, February 26, 2006

President Bush at the Asia Society

I read a wonderful speech by President Bush at the Asia Society talking about India and Pakistan. You can read the transcript here (or click on the 'Video' link for video, although I prefer reading to watching!). It's a good reflection of the two nation's importance in the world. Here are a few excerpts I really liked:
India's work in Afghanistan is a good example of India's commitment to emerging democracies. India has pledged $565 million to help the Afghan people repair the infrastructure and get back on their feet. And recently, India announced it would provide an additional $50 million to help the Afghans complete their National Assembly building. India has trained National Assembly staff, and it's developing a similar program for the Assembly's elected leaders. The people of America and India understand that a key part of defeating the terrorists is to replace their ideology of hatred with an ideology of hope. And so we will continue to work together to advance the cause of liberty.

For all those people who cry about outsourcing to India, here is why India is great for the US.
merica's economic relationship with India is strong and it's getting better. Last year, our exports to India grew by more than 30 percent. We had a trade surplus of $1.8 billion in services. India is now one of the fastest-growing markets for American exports, and the growing economic ties between our two nations are making American companies more competitive in the global marketplace. And that's helping companies create good jobs here in America.

Further on the topic, he expands on the demand for American products in India.
We must also recognize that India's growth is creating new opportunities for our businesses and farmers and workers. India's middle class is now estimated at 300 million people. Think about that. That's greater than the entire population of the United States. India's middle class is buying air-conditioners, kitchen appliances, and washing machines, and a lot of them from American companies like GE, and Whirlpool, and Westinghouse. And that means their job base is growing here in the United States of America. Younger Indians are acquiring a taste for pizzas from Domino's -- (laughter) -- Pizza Hut. And Air India ordered 68 planes valued at more than $11 billion from Boeing, the single largest commercial airplane order in India's civilian aviation history. Today India's consumers associate American brands with quality and value, and this trade is creating opportunity here at home.

OK, there were a lot more I could excerpt, but you'd be better off reading the whole speech. Even if you don't care for Bush, you'll find this speech revealing because it is about the strategic importance of two nations that will be vital players in the global environment.

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