US facing stiff competition from India: Obama

Feb 16, 2009
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US facing stiff competition from India: Obama

For the second time in two days, President Barack Obama has said the US is facing stiff competition from India and cannot succeed if the country continues to produce more scientists and engineers than America.

"I said this during the State of the Union (address), I repeated it today in Henderson in my town hall: Other countries are not playing for second. They're playing for first," he told the Las Vegas-Area Chambers of Commerce and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on Friday.

Why is it that every other country was promoting its tourist industry and America was not doing enough for its own? Obama asked "That's just one example of the competition that we're facing on everything," he said.

"If China's producing 40 high-speed rail lines and we're producing one, we're not going to have the infrastructure of the future," Obama said.

"If India or South Korea are producing more scientists and engineers than we are, we will not succeed," said the US President in his Las Vegas speech.

This was for the second time in two days Obama told people to gear up as countries like India, China and Germany were marching ahead in various fields, including clean energy technologies.

"So I hope that all of us -- Democrats, Republicans, public servants and leaders in the business community
- can keep alive a sense of seriousness, a sense of common purpose," Obama said.

"That's how we can rise to this moment and transcend the failures of the past, tackle the challenges before us and leave behind a nation that is more prosperous than ever before."

On Thursday, the President had said the US, being the world leader, cannot afford to lag behind in clean energy technologies amid the fast growth of India, China and Germany in the field and sought efforts to prevent any country from "out-competing" America in future.

"We know that whoever leads the clean energy revolution is going to lead the 21st century economy... And we can't wait. Because China is not waiting. India is not waiting. Germany is not waiting. We can't afford to wait," he said at a grassroots fundraiser for Senator Michael Bennet in Denver, Colorado.

"We can't continue to spin our wheels in old education debates -- the stale debates, they pit teachers against reformers -- meanwhile kids are trailing their counterparts all around the world," Obama said.

The President said there was a need to bring people together and build consensus around reforms. "Because we know that the country that out-educates us today is going to out-compete us tomorrow. And we don't want that future for our young people. We're not going to sentence them to a lifetime of lower wages and unfulfilled dreams".

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