Former President Bill Clinton spoke in Chicago this past Saturday at the India Institute of Technology's Global Conference 2009. The focus of his speech was a call to create innovative profitable solutions to reduce greenhouse emissions and to reduce the inequality gap between the world's poor and wealthy. Clinton also mentioned the national healthcare debate, saying he expected a bill to pass.
Following his speech, Clinton participated in a brief question and answer session. When asked how India could play a more significant role in the UN and G20 in the future, Clinton said India has the potential to outgrow China, as long as it makes peace with its neighbor Pakistan. This peace between the two countries could lead to a more modern Afghanistan, contribute to a worldwide drawdown of nuclear weapons, and even indirectly influence a reduction of conflict in the Middle East.
Transcript and video below, courtesy of NDTV.
If you [India] did not have to raise defense spending 20% a year and these countries could be working together I think you will grow faster than China. I think this idea that the Chinese are going to dominate the 21st century is not necessarily true. It depends mostly what you do and if you can continue to pour money into the development of the people and reduce inequalities in India...not the standoffs along the 1971 line or the fights over Kashmir or what ever. Its easier to say than to do, I know that especially after what happened in Mumbai. Where I watched the hotel room I always stay in burning, I know that. but I'm just telling you if Indian-Americans and Pakistani Americans could find ways to work together it would make a big difference. The same thing is true in Afghanistan. I see this all the time. Every time India does something in Afghanistan, Pakistan thinks it is directed against it and vice versa but the truth is if the two countries could find a way to work together and do common projects there, it would do more to stabilize Afghanistan and bring it into a 21st century mindset than where they are now, which a lot of them are in a 19th century mindset, not even a 20th century mindset, than anything else that you could do. If that one thing could be done on the Indian subcontinent it would revolutionize the 20th century in ways no one can imagine. It would help to reduce the nuclear threat the world faces. It would help reduce the rush all these other countries are making to get nuclear weapons. It would indirectly play a major role in encouraging a reduction of tensions in the Middle East. And I think India and Pakistan together would outgrow China in the 21st Century.