Senator Barack Obama has a two-page, 1,832 word op-ed in the latest issue of India Abroad (here's a link to the pdf version). In it, he calls for a better balance between security and civil liberties, better immigration policies for foreign students and families, and less rigid alignment with the Musharraf government. He also links his own family's immigrant story to that of Indians, and of course, gives props to Gandhi.
Early on in the piece, he calls for... change.
This kind of change will require the active participation of the American people. And as President, I will reach out to encourage the active engagement and partnership of the vibrant Indian American community in making the change we seek. Already, in communities across this country, Indian Americans are lifting up our economy and creating jobs. Leading entrepreneurs, innovators, lawyers, doctors, engineers, and hard-working professionals are adding to the richness and success of the American story.
And yet, since the attacks of 9/11, we have been gripped by a politics of fear that has far too often targeted Indian Americans, excluding them from the American story. Too often, flawed strategies like racial profiling have had a disproportionate effect on Indian Americans. Too often, restrictions at our borders have prevented entry for many students and family members who seek nothing more than opportunity and reunification with loved ones. In the process, we have restricted the promise of America for millions of hard-working, law-abiding individuals who advance our nation’s economy and potential through strong families, excellence in education and achievement, and personal faith.
As President, I will restore the essential balance between the security we demand and the liberties we cherish. I worked as a State Senator to bring together law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform racial profiling tactics – this is not a reliable tool for our law enforcement, and it is not reflective of core American values. As a United States Senator, I co-sponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to reach violent hate crimes motivated by race, color, religion, or national origin – because there can be no justification for these heinous acts. And I helped craft comprehensive immigration reform that would have fixed our broken immigration system by securing our borders while reaffirming our legacy as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
Further down he discusses strategic ties between the US and India, and a conditional relationship with Pakistan.
The United States and India must work together to combat the common threats of the 21st century. We have both been victims of catastrophic terrorist attacks, and we have a shared interest in succeeding in the fight against al Qaeda and its operational and ideological affiliates. That fight must not be undercut by a misguided war in Iraq.
I opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, arguing that we needed to “finish the fight with Bin Laden and al Qaeda” in Afghanistan. I have argued that we need to do more to roll back the al Qaeda sanctuary along the Afghan-Pakistan border, and that we cannot put all of our eggs in the Musharraf basket in Pakistan. That is why I proposed, long before the declaration of martial law in Pakistan, that we need to condition our assistance to the Pakistani government so that we encourage stronger action against al Qaeda and a restoration of democracy. Our goal remains not simply an ally in Pakistan – our goal is a democratic ally, with a vibrant civil society and strong institutions.
While we will be vigilant in tracking down terrorists and taking down terrorist networks, we know that the battle against extremism is not just military. As democracies founded upon the rule of law – and countries committed to economic opportunity – the United States and India also know that the solution to extremism is not just military; it is also political and economic. That is why I am committed to renewing American diplomacy and restoring our commitment to human rights abroad and civil liberties at home. As President, I will close Guantanamo, restore habeas corpus, and renounce torture without equivocation, because America needs to be a light of justice to the world.
Here Obama speaks on the influence of Gandhi, which he loosely connects to his work as a community organizer...
In my life, I have always looked to Mahatma Gandhi as an inspiration, because he embodies the kind of transformational change that can be made when ordinary people come together to do extraordinary things. That is why his portrait hangs in my Senate office: to remind me that real results will not just come from Washington – they will come from the people. And that is why I am proud to have the longstanding support of so many Indian Americans in all aspects of my campaign, as well as the endorsements of leading elected Indian American law-makers.