We should feel confident about the progress we've made but we shouldn't be complacent, said the former US president
GN Bureau | December 1, 2017
Former US president Barack Obama on Friday said that the distinction between 'us' and 'them' is dangerous and can wreak havoc on us all.
Speaking at the HT Leadership Summit in New Delhi, Obama said that he was proud to have proud to have been the only US president to have visited India twice during his tenure.
He said that t partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies is a defining one and India, US share common values.
The former US president said that the world is more connected than ever before.
“India has lifted countless millions out of poverty. India and US have thrown off the yoke of colonialism and have drafted the constitutions that begins with the same three words: "We, the people". Our history together speaks about a common set of values - pluralism and tolerance, a liberal market based order that places primacy on individual rights,” he said.
He added: “We should feel confident about the progress we've made but we shouldn't be complacent. We have to acknowledge the real economic forces that sometimes make our people feel powerless.”
Obama said that we have to acknowledge and ensure high tech economy works for everybody. “Economies don't work well when the middle class is neglected.”
He stressed that values of pluralism, openness, law, freedom of speech and press, dignity, freedom must be promoted. “We can't unwind globalisation or pretend automation doesn't exist. We need to invest in our people's skills, education. We have to work to lower our carbon emissions but we can't do that by ourselves.”
He said all steps India is taking to leapfrog the use of conventional energy are starting to bear fruit.
“We can invest in our people and their skills. We should empower those who are willing to take risks and work on their own,” said the former US president who added that we have to build new social compacts to benefit from new economy and give same opportunities.
“We have to recognise how technology is changing how the youth is consuming information. It is easier to retreat into our bubbles. This poses great danger,” he warned.
“Democracies cannot function without a baseline about what's true and what's false. We all have work to do and democracy is hard. Progress doesn't move in a straight line. But the trend lines are in the direction of success. Those of us who believe in democracy need to speak forcefully. We have to teach these values to our children,” said Obama.
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