On his last day in India, President Obama delivered a message from America to the people of India on the importance of our relationship as true global partners. "I’m here because I’m absolutely convinced that both our peoples will have more jobs and opportunity, and our nations will be more secure, and the world will be a safer and a more just place when our two democracies -- the world’s largest democracy and the world’s oldest democracy -- stand together," he said.
Watch his remarks:
The President touched on our common bonds and common challenges -- and our commitment to build a brighter future for our countries together:
On our democratic ideals:
We are strongest when we see the inherent dignity in every human being. Look at our countries -- the incredible diversity even here in this hall. India is defined by countless languages and dialects, and every color and caste and creed, gender and orientations. And likewise, in America, we’re black and white, and Latino and Asian, and Indian-American, and Native American. Your constitution begins with the pledge to uphold “the dignity of the individual.” And our Declaration of Independence proclaims that “all men are created equal.”
On combating climate change:
I know the argument made by some that it’s unfair for countries like the United States to ask developing nations and emerging economies like India to reduce your dependence on the same fossil fuels that helped power our growth for more than a century. But here’s the truth: Even if countries like the United States curb our emissions, if countries that are growing rapidly like India -- with soaring energy needs -- don't also embrace cleaner fuels, then we don’t stand a chance against climate change.
On empowering women and girls:
We know from experience that nations are more successful when their women are successful. When girls go to school -- this is one of the most direct measures of whether a nation is going to develop effectively is how it treats its women. When a girl goes to school, it doesn’t just open up her young mind, it benefits all of us -- because maybe someday she’ll start her own business, or invent a new technology, or cure a disease. And when women are able to work, families are healthier, and communities are wealthier, and entire countries are more prosperous. And when young women are educated, then their children are going to be well educated and have more opportunity.
On protecting freedom of religion:
Our nations are strongest when we see that we are all God’s children -- all equal in His eyes and worthy of His love. Across our two great countries we have Hindus and Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, and Jews and Buddhists and Jains and so many faiths. And we remember the wisdom of Gandhiji, who said, “for me, the different religions are beautiful flowers from the same garden, or they are branches of the same majestic tree.” Branches of the same majestic tree.
On what makes the U.S. and India world leaders:
Do we act with compassion and empathy. Are we measured by our efforts -- by what Dr. King called “the content of our character” rather than the color of our skin or the manner in which we worship our God. In both our countries, in India and in America, our diversity is our strength. And we have to guard against any efforts to divide ourselves along sectarian lines or any other lines. And if we do that well, if America shows itself as an example of its diversity and yet the capacity to live together and work together in common effort, in common purpose; if India, as massive as it is, with so much diversity, so many differences is able to continually affirm its democracy, that is an example for every other country on Earth. That's what makes us world leaders -- not just the size of our economy or the number of weapons we have, but our ability to show the way in how we work together, and how much respect we show each other.
Take a look at a few of the light, touching, and beautiful moments from the President's speech -- and the trip -- below:
"Secret Service does not let me ride motorcycles. Especially not on my head."
"When Dr. King came to India, he said that being here -- in “Gandhi’s land” -- reaffirmed his conviction that in the struggle for justice and human dignity, the most potent weapon of all is non-violent resistance. And those two great souls are why we can gather here together today, Indians and Americans, equal and free."
"As societies that celebrate knowledge and innovation, we transformed ourselves into high-tech hubs of the global economy."
"The young women who are here today are part of a new generation that is making your voice heard, and standing up and determined to play your part in India’s progress."
"One of the favorite things about this trip for me has been to see all these incredible Indian women in the armed forces, including the person who commanded the Guard that greeted me when I arrived."
"The peace we seek in the world begins in human hearts. And it finds its glorious expression when we look beyond any differences in religion or tribe, and rejoice in the beauty of every soul."