NEW DELHI: Noting that there were "challenges" that needed to be overcome to further strengthen ties between India and US, Congressperson Tulsi Gabbard today said both the nations have a great opportunity to work together in various sectors and "intentions and hearts" were moving in the right direction.
Gabbard, a member of the US House of Representative, said that terrorism was one of the key issues likely to be discussed between between the two nations during US President Barack Obama's visit to India, apart from deliberations on cooperation in sectors like technology and renewable energy.
"There is great excitement and opportunity that's being felt on the ground both in US and India and I think we are headed in the right direction. "There are definitely some challenges that will have to be overcome but the intention and heart is moving in the right place. There is great opportunity for both of us in many areas from security to economy and many other things that we can do together," Gabbard said after delivering her address on "The Future of Indo-US Relationships" organised by India Foundation.
She said that President Obama's visit to India is "historic" in different ways and it will send a strong message about the "seriousness" of the partnership between the two countries.
"There is a very deep concern about the threat that terrorism poses not only to our two countries but to the world. This would be at the foremost of discussion.
"There is a great opportunity that lies in the area of technology...of growing our shared economies as well as in the area of renewable energy. The list goes on and on," she said.
She said that during her present visit to India, she had interacted with people in seven different cities and this has also planted many seeds for many more productive conversations in the future.
"It's the ease of doing business...of knowing that the terms that are set out in the beginning and are the terms that will remain when they come here to India and to be able to know that they can be done in a timely fashion. These are the same things that the Indian businesses are also concerned about," she said when asked about the key things which will pave way for US manufacturers to come to India.
During her speech, she noted that perceptions can be very different from reality, and said that it is important for both the countries to understand each other.
"Perceptions can be very different from reality and it's important for both our countries to take a moment to understand each other and to dispel the misperceptions that may exist and then begin a friendship that's based on mutual respect and understanding," she said.
She said that there could be many areas where there will be disagreement but noted that "there will be more areas where we will agree."
Terming the problem of terrorism as a "great" one, she said that she has been vocal about this issue especially in recent months as the world has been dealing with the recent threat of ISIS and other Islamic extremist terrorist groups.
"We have to recognize what threats they pose to us all and also recognize we must be very focussed on a mission to defeat that threat and to see what is the smartest and most effective military strategy to do so," she said.
She said that it was essential to work in this direction with partners, friends and allies.
"There is room for great improvement. I have been vocal that the focus on this specific mission has not been pointed enough. It's been diluted into different areas. What has happened as a result of this is that the threat has grown," she said.
She went on to elaborate that due to the "dilution", there has been a space that has been created to allow groups like ISIS to recruit more, to train better and create more disciplined forces.
"Regardless of what we are talking about in the world, we got to recognize the threat that these terrorists provide and stand together in a strong and decisive way," she said.
Gabbard also spoke extensively about the principles of servant leadership in which everyone should strive to have the attitude of a servant, rather than that of a master.
Yesterday, Gabbard, while visiting Raj Ghat, said that the memorial is not only special to all Indians but to people worldwide.
"The eternal flame at Raj Ghat reminds us of the inspiration of leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr who devoted their lives to human rights and equality for the betterment of mankind," she said.