Remarks by the President to the Hyderabad Business Community


Office of the Press Secretary
(Hyderabad, India)

For Immediate ReleaseMarch 24, 2000


HI-TEC Center
Hyderabad, India

2:05 P.M. (L)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much.First of all, thank you all for coming out in such large numbers on thiswarm day to this wonderful facility. It may be that every day is a warmday, but for us, it's a new experience. (Laughter.) And I rather like it.

Mr. Raju, thank you very much. President Bajaj, President Batnagar,Mr. Hariharan and Chief Minister Naidu, thank you all for welcoming ushere. And I must say, when I was watching the Chief Minister give hisspeech, I wish I had brought some slides -- (laughter) -- because it was sovery impressive. And you should know that he is becoming -- (applause) --yes, he did a good job. (Applause.)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, you will remember much more ofwhat he said than what I am about to say. (Laughter.) And he is becomingvery well-known in the United States and very much admired for all of theseremarkable achievements, and I thank him. (Applause.)

I would like to thank your Ambassador to the United States, AmbassadorChandra, for coming back to India and making this trip with me. And thankyou very much, Mr. Ambassador, for what you do. (Applause.)

I would like to thank the large number of Americans who are here withme, including six members of our Congress. And I would like to ask them tostand because they come on these trips with me -- I get to give thespeeches, they have to sit and listen. And then when we go home, they haveall the power over the money. (Laughter.) So I would like to introduceRepresentative Gary Ackerman from New York, Representative Nita Lowey fromNew York, Representative Jim McDermott from Washington, Representative EdRoyce from California, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas, andRepresentative Jan Schakowsky from Chicago, Illinois. Thank you very much.(Applause.)

If that doesn't improve the aid program for India, I don't know whatwill. (Laughter.) And make sure we have no burden on e-commerce betweenourselves.

I want to thank Secretary Daley, the Secretary of Commerce, for beinghere, and Brady Anderson, the Administrator of our USAID program; and Dr.Neal Lane, my Science Advisor; and Dr. Rama Murthi; and of course,Ambassador Dick Celeste and Jacqueline, his wife.

I'd also like to point out I have -- I don't know how many, but I haveat least four Indian Americans with me working on this trip who areactually in the audience today, and two of them are from here in Hyderabad.So I'd like to acknowledge Rekha Chalasani from AID, and Mona Mohib whoworks with us in the White House. I thank them for being here.(Applause.)

You should also know this was a very coveted trip from Washington toIndia. My Chief of Staff is on this trip. My National Security Advisor.Everyone wanted to come. Those who did are happy; those who are still athome working are angry. (Laughter.) But we know -- we know a lot of ourfuture depends upon whether we have the right kind of partnership withIndia. (Applause.)

Once historians said of your nation, India is the world's most ancientcivilization, yet one of its youngest nations. Today, in this ancientcity, we see leadership to drive the world's newest economy.

One of the greatest joys of being President of the United States forme has been to be involved with the people at home who are pushing thefrontiers of science and technology. Many people believe that I asked AlGore to be my Vice President because he knew roughly 5,000 times more aboutcomputer technology than I did. (Laughter.)

But I have learned every day now, for over seven years. And I thinkit's very interesting for a man my age -- I'm 53, which is way too old tomake any money in information technology -- (laughter) -- but it's veryinteresting -- the terms that are used today by young people andnot-so-young people anymore had such different meanings for me when I wasin my 20s. When I was a young man, chips were something you ate, windowswere something you washed, disks were part of your spinal column, that whenyou got older often slipped out of place, and semiconductors werefrustrated musicians who wished they were leading orchestras. (Laughterand applause.) The world is a very different place today.

I want to speak briefly about how our nations already are workingtogether to seize the possibilities of the Information Age, and about whatwe can do to make sure no one is left behind. I particularly appreciatedthe Chief Minister's emphasis on this in his remarks, because, for me, thetrue test of the information revolution is not just the size of the feastit creates, but the number of people who can sit at the table to enjoy it.

It is incredible to think about how far science has come in just theseven years and a few months since I first became President. In that timewe have explored a galaxy 12 billion light years away; we have seen thecloning of animals. We are just a few months away from completing thesequencing of the human genome, with all that promises for improving thelife and the quality of life of people all around the world.

When I was elected President, there were -- listen to this -- therewere only 50 sites on the Worldwide Web, in January of 1993. Today, thereare more than 50 million. And it is the fastest growing communicationsmedium in history.

Here in India, the number of Internet users is expected to grow morethan 10 times in just four years. Ten years ago, India's high-techindustries generated software and computer-related services worth $150million. Last year, that number was $4 billion. Today, this industryemploys more than 280,000 Indians, in jobs that pay almost double thenational average. Little wonder, as the Minister said, Hyderabad is beingknown now as "Cyberabad." (Applause.)

Now, I realize to many of you this comes as no surprise, since thedecimal system was discovered -- invented in India. If it weren't forIndia's contributions in math and science, you could argue that computers,satellites and silicon chips would never have been possible in the firstplace, so you ought to have a leading role in the 21st century economy --(applause) -- companies with names like Infosys, Wipro and, of course,Satyam.

Again, I want to say that I think Chief Minister Naidu deserves a lotof credit for giving you the right kind of governance. (Applause.) Thereare some people who believe -- we were talking about this before we cameout here -- there are some people who believe that the 21st century world,because the Internet will make the globe more interconnected and we willhave all kinds of connections with people beyond our borders that we neverhad before, and, therefore, government will become completely irrelevant tomost people's lives. If you look at the example of this state and thiscity, you see we need a different kind of government. It can be smaller;it can be far less bureaucratic; it should be far more market-oriented; itshould be smart, as I learned from the Minister's chart. But it is a gravemistake to think that we can really go forward together without that kindof smart governance. And the Chief Minister's role in your success I thinkis evident to all of you by your response.

I'm personally intrigued by the fact that you can get a driver'slicense on the Internet and you don't have to go wait in line, as you do inAmerica. I have my driver's license here -- (laughter) -- and in a fewmonths I may come back, because it may be the only place I will have alicense to drive. (Laughter and applause.) You may see me just toolingaround on the streets here, causing traffic jams. (Laughter.)

I want to also acknowledge, if I might, just very briefly, somethingwhich has already been mentioned by previous speakers. And that is theremarkable success of Indian Americans in this new economy -- from SuhasPatil, the chairman emeritus of Cyrus Logic; to Vinod Khosla, who helped tobuild Sun Microsystems; to Vinod Dahm, who created the pentium chip. Theremarkable fact is -- listen to this -- Indian Americans now run more than750 companies in Silicon Valley alone, in one place in America.(Applause.) Now, as again I learned on the screen, we're moving from braindrain to brain gain in India, because many are coming home.

The partnership of Americans and Indians proposes to raise a billiondollars for a global institute of science and technology here. I have nodoubt they will succeed. After welcoming your engineers to our shores,today many of our leading companies -- from Apple to Texas Instruments toOracle -- are coming in waves to your shores. I'm told that if a personcalls Microsoft for help with software, there's a pretty good chancethey'll find themselves talking to an expert in India, rather than Seattle.India is fast becoming one of the world's software superpowers, provingthat in a globalized world, developing nations not only can succeed,developing nations can lead.

One of the reasons India is finding so much success, I believe, isbecause of your enduring values of nationhood. Fifty years ago, PrimeMinister Neru had the vision to invest in the Indian Institutes ofTechnology. I am very proud that the United States helped in its earlydevelopment. Today, not only are ITT graduates leading the informationrevolution, India has the second largest pool of trained scientists in theentire world. (Applause.)

As I said, we have to do more together. Two of our leadingassociations, the U.S.-India Business Council and your Federation of IndianChamber of Commerce and Industry, will launch a dialogue to take ourinfotech trade to new heights, to create more jobs and more opportunitiesin both our nations.

But as I said at the beginning, in the midst of all this celebrationof tomorrow, and in the midst of all of oursatisfaction at our own good fortune, there is something we cannot forget.It's a good thing that we're creating a lot of 25-year-oldmulti-millionaires; it's a good thing that we're seeing the latest Indianstart-ups shoot up the NASDAQ; but this whole enterprise cannot just beabout higher profits, there must also be a higher purpose.

In India today, as in America, there is much to do. Millions ofIndians are connected to the Internet, but millions more aren't yetconnected to fresh water. India accounts for 30 percent of the world'ssoftware engineers, but 25 percent of the world's malnourished. And thereare other statistics, which, given the wealth of the United States, I couldcite you about our country which are just as troubling and challenging.

So our challenge is to turn the newest discoveries into the bestweapons humanity has ever had to fight poverty. In allthe years of recorded human history, we have never had this manyopportunities to fight poverty. And it is good economics to do so.

There is so much we can do, for example, to help the poor have betterhealth care. This morning I was at a clinic in Mahavir and I helped toimmunize a child against polio. Together we have nearly eradicated thisdisease, but tuberculosis is still a major problem, malaria is on the rise,HIV and AIDS are big problems for you, as they have been for years for theUnited States. These are global problems. We must find a science to solvethem and the technology to disseminate those solutions to all people,without regard to their income.

There is much to do to protect our planet and those who share it withus. In Agra, I saw some efforts that local citizens are making to cleanthe air and preserve the Taj Mahal. I talked to an engineer who is doinghis best to clean up the Ganges River that he worships as an important partof his faith and his country's history.

Yesterday, I was in the national park in Rajasthan to see themagnificent tigers. And I learned, much to my dismay, that, from a man whohas spent a great deal of his life and risked a lot of his life to savethose tigers, that last year still 20 of them were poached and you arestill in danger of losing them. They, too, are an important part of yourheritage and your future.

We must find a way to help people make enough money and have a decentenough income that they wish to preserve the environment and the biologicalspecies with which we share this planet. This is very, very important, andtechnology has a big role to play in all of this.

This week, you are establishing a green business center here inHyderabad, with some assistance from USAID, to bring the private sector andlocal government together to promote clean energy development andenvironmental technology. This is a profoundly important issue and I hopethat this city will lead your nation and help to lead the world toward aserious reassessment of our common obligation to reverse the tide of globalwarming and climate change. Because, in the new economy, you do not haveto pollute the atmosphere and warm the planet to grow the economy. In thenew economy, you can create more jobs by promoting energy efficiency andalternative sources of energy than by polluting the environment.

The economic wave of the future is in environmental preservation, notin environmental destruction. That is a lesson this city can teach therest of your nation, people in my nation and people throughout the world,and I hope you will do it. (Applause.)

There is still much we can do in science and technology to feed theworld's people. American and Indian scientists are working in thebiotechnology industry to pioneer new crops more resistant to pests,diseases, more nutritious, with higher yields per acre.

There is much we can do to protect the rich cultural diversity of ourplanet. I know that some worry that globalization will produce a worldwhere the unique gifts nations and peoples bring to the world are washedaway. I do not believe that. If we do the right things, the Internet canhave precisely the opposite effect. Look at India, with 17 officiallyrecognized languages and some 22,000 dialects. You can get on the Internettoday and find dozens of sites that bring together people who speak Telugufrom every part of the world. You can download fonts in Gujarati, Marati,Assamese and Bengali. You can order handicrafts made by people from everypart of India -- I saw one of the sites just before coming in here. Andyou know the proceeds are going to the people in need.

The new technology can reinforce our cultural distinctions whilereaffirming the even more important fact of our common humanity. And Indiacan also help us lead the way in doing that.

Now, finally let me say we cannot work to lift what has been calledthe "Silk Curtain," which has divided the United States and India for toolong now, only to have a digital divide arise in both our countries betweenthe haves and have-nots. In America, we have worked very hard to wire allour schools to the Internet and we've made great progress. We are nowgoing to provide some $5 million through AID to help bring the Internet toschools and businesses in under-served areas in rural India. This state isdoing a remarkable job in providing the Internet to people all over thestate, in the smallest, poorest villages.

We have to bring government services with printers to every village,so people can see in basic ways what it is they need to do to improve thehealth care of their children. We need printers with computers on theInternet with all the educational software available. If we could do thatfor every village in South Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, in the MiddleEast, then overnight the poorest places in the world could have access tothe same learning materials that only the richest schools offer theirstudents today. We can do that if we do it together.

And it isn't just good public values; it would be good economics. Itwould mean, among other things, that the world's most populous nation wouldhave the world's largest number of educated people, and, therefore, in notime would have the world's largest economy. Doing the right thing is goodeconomics in the Information Age, and we have to do this together.

Finally, let me say that we just want to be a good partner with you inall these endeavors. Two days ago in Delhi I signed an agreement to createa U.S.-Indo Science and Technology forum to bring scientists from ournations together to discuss future cooperation. Today, the top scienceminds in our two governments are sitting down together to begin a dialogueon how we can conduct new research across a whole range of scientificfrontiers. There is a lot we can do.

But, you know -- as I said before I came out here, I visited a lot ofthe booths, I met a lot of the business people, and I also was treated bythe Chief Minister to a video conference with people in all 23 districts ofthis state who are working on empowerment projects, who had access themicrocredit. I learned something I didn't know before I got here, which isthat 20 percent of the people in the world, in poor villages who haveaccess to microcredit, are in this state, in India. (Applause.) Andthat's something my wife and I and our administration have worked very hardon. We financed through AID about 2 million microcredit loans all acrossthe world every year.

So I saw all this. And I would say there's one thing that I hope mycountry will learn from the values expressed in the Chief Minister'sspeech, in the local government councils I have visited here, in the localwomen's communes I have visited here, working on all kinds of economic andeducational issues, and that is that the two most important things that wecan promote in the new world are empowerment of individuals and a sense ofcommunity. And if you do one without the other, you will not succeed.

Very often, people who are very interested in empowerment don't havemuch interest in community. When they're talking about empowerment, theymean their own empowerment. (Laughter.) And very often, a lot of peoplewho have always cared deeply about community are almost a little suspiciousof empowerment. But the lesson that you are teaching us is that we must doboth together.

We are here to talk about the future of cyberspace. "Cyber" comesfrom the Greek word "kybernautis". It means helmsman, one who steers theship. So I am here to say I admire what you are doing to steer the ship ofthis state into the future. I want to steer with you. (Applause.) But wecannot forget the simple message that, no matter how much new technologythere is, the two things we must remain committed to are empowerment andcommunity. Everyone counts. Everyone should have a chance. Everyone hasa role to play. And we all do better when we help each other.

Thank you and God bless you. (Applause.)  


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