India will have same access to US tech as closest allies: Obama


Obama said that Indo-US bilateral trade””now around $100 billion””“is still just a fraction of what it could be”

Washington: US President Barack Obama on Sunday promised to “look at” export controls to make sure Indian firms have the same access to American technologies as its “closest allies” and expressed the hope that 2016 will see US companies build nuclear reactors in India.

Welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to cut red tape and make it easier for doing business in India, he told PTI in an interview that both countries can do even more to increase trade and investment that create jobs in both nations.

He said bilateral trade””now around $100 billion””“is still just a fraction of what it could be”. Obama and Modi have set a goal of taking it to $500 billion in the next few years. “Under our civil nuclear agreement, we’re hopeful that this year will see deals for US companies to build new reactors, which will mean more reliable electricity for Indians… For our part, the United States continues to look at our export controls to make sure Indian companies have the same access to American technology as our closest allies,” Obama said.

Obama said there is much more that the two countries can do as global partners. “As leaders in science and technology, we can expand our efforts to combat disease and promote public health in Africa and beyond. With collaborations like Mission Innovation, we can be leaders in clean energy and spare our people the worst effects of climate change. As members of the G-20, we can work together to boost global growth. By moving ahead with our joint vision, we can ensure the security, prosperity and dignity of people across the Asia Pacific,” he said.

Obama also said that civil society groups that strengthen communities need to be supported and not “stifled”.

The US has been critical of the India’s action against NGOs, particularly Greenpeace, which was barred from receiving foreign funds and whose registration was cancelled in September last.

“India can be a strong voice in support of the universal rights and dignity of all people, regardless of background or religion. We need to support, not stifle, the civil society groups that strengthen communities,” Obama said.

Terming the Pathankot terror strike as “another example of the inexcusable terrorism that India has endured for too long”, Obama demanded that Pakistan “delegitimize, disrupt and dismantle” terrorist networks that operate from its territory. Pakistan “can and must” take more effective action against terrorist groups, he said, emphasizing that “there must be zero tolerance for safe havens and terrorists must be brought to justice”.

  • PTI
  • This article appeared in The Mint:

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