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Obama Hopes US Could Become India’s Closest Partner

© AFP 2021 / SAUL LOEBIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and US President Barack Obama leave after speaking during the India-US Business Summit in New Delhi on January 26, 2015.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and US President Barack Obama leave after speaking during the India-US Business Summit in New Delhi on January 26, 2015. - Sputnik International
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US President calls India-US relations one of the "defining" partnerships of the 21st century.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he gives a speech in front of students at the University of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo - Sputnik International
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NEW DELHI, January 27 (Sputnik) — Speaking at a town hall event at New Delhi's Siri Fort Auditorium on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama expressed hope for greater India-US cooperation and friendship.

"India and US are not just natural partners, but I believe America can be India's best partner," Obama said on his final day of visit to India, adding, "I think the relationship between India and US is one of the defining partnerships of the century."

Obama's comments follow a remark made by US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes on Monday, claiming that the United States would surpass Russia as India’s strongest and closest partner.

"[The] United States is quickly moving towards surpassing Russia as a defense exporter to India. So that balance has shifted over [the] years. India obviously has a longstanding defense relationship with Russia, but our relationship is on the upswing," Rhodes was quoted as saying in a press release, issued on the website of the US White House on Monday.

President Obama is currently on his third day of an official visit to India, where he has taken part in the country's Republic Day celebrations as well as in a series of meetings with officials to discuss cooperation in defense, economy, civil nuclear power and climate change.

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