President of the United States Remarks at Gandhi Memorial Dedication (9/16/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

Immediate Release                       September 16, 2000

                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

                             Washington, D.C.

11:04 A.M. EDT

     Q    Mr. President, how would you describe the visit overall, of the
Indian Prime Minister?  What has this visit meant to Indo-U.S. relations?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think it's been a great success.  It sort of
rounds out our efforts to take a different turn in our relationships, to
deepen and broaden them.  As I have said many times, I am profoundly
grateful for the reception that I received from the Prime Minister, the
government and the people of India when I came with my daughter and my
mother in law a few months ago.

     I hope that this change in partnership goes beyond my service, into a
whole new era of partnership between India and the United States.

     You know, one thing I didn't mention a moment ago is that, in addition
to the government of India, Americans who are of Indian heritage also
contributed to this magnificent memorial.  There is probably no country
outside India that has been more enriched by Indians than the United
States.  So that's another reason and I think it's important we continue to
go forward together.

     Q    Mr. President, has Mahatma Gandhi made an influence on your life,
sir, in any way?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, when I was a boy, actually, I was a profound
admirer of Martin Luther King, and I began to read all his writings.  And
when I read that he was so influenced by Gandhi, then I began to read about
Gandhi.  I was, I don't know, 17, 18 or something like that.

     Q    Mr. President, since you talked about the Indian contribution --
about immigration, H1b visas, does your administration want to do something

     THE PRESIDENT:  Let me say this, the number of H1b visas will be
increased in this Congress, I believe.  I'll be quite surprised if it
isn't.  The issue is how much will it be increased by and can we use the
occasion of increasing the quotas to get some more funds from the companies
that are hiring people for the training of our own people, who could also
do these jobs -- the people who are already here -- if they had training.
So there's no question that we're going to increase the visas.

     Q    Mr. President, the fact is you said you're very excited, it was a
very positive visit.  In concrete terms, where do you see the alliance
going now?  Where in concrete terms do you see India and the United States
as natural allies going ahead?

     THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I hope in the years ahead we'll be better
economic partners, better political partners.  I hope we'll work together
through the United Nations and other international forums.  I hope we'll
both be able to help to turn back what could otherwise be a dangerous tide
of proliferation of dangerous weapons -- not just nuclear warheads on
missiles, either -- chemical weapons, biological weapons.  I hope we'll be
able to turn that back.

     And I hope some day that there will be some constructive role we could
play as a partner in working with India and others to bring peace on the

     Q    Will you be a strategic ally?  Will we be a strategic ally?

     THE PRESIDENT:  We've done enough talking today.  (Laughter.)  If you
want to ask the Prime Minister a question -- (laughter.)

     Q    Mr. President, do you see yourself going back to India after

     THE PRESIDENT:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  I hope I'll be able to go
back to India for the rest of my life -- I don't mean permanently, but I
mean to keep going back, always.

                             END               11:09 A.M. EDT

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