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Indian economist Bibek Debroy
"The perception that IT is anti-poor is not quite correct"
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Ramalinga Raju of Satyam Computers
The visit is a vote of confidence in Andhra Pradesh
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The BBC's Richard Lister
"President Clinton has seen more of the country than any of his predecessors"
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Friday, 24 March, 2000, 18:36 GMT
Trade deals seal historic trip

President Clinton stopped to greet blind students
India and the United States signed business deals worth billions of dollars as President Clinton wound up his historic visit.

On the last leg of his tour of India, Mr Clinton made a final appeal against nuclear proliferation and ethnic strife in the region.

He told a gathering of business leaders in Bombay, the country's financial capital, that he had come as a friend, to build a new partnership.

We come as friends to a changing India ... to build a new partnership

Bill Clinton
"I cannot imagine the world that I want for my children's generation ... that does not include a better and deeper partnership with India," he said.

The president was accompanied by a high-powered trade delegation, which signed agreements worth $4bn.

He arrived in Bombay to a warm welcome, as tens of thousands of people lined the 30km route from the airport into the city.

Thousands more watched his motorcade from apartment windows.

At one point, President Clinton stepped out of his limousine to shake hands with several blind students who had gathered outside a school for the visually impaired.

Cyber warning

Earlier, the president warned of a potential "digital divide" in India between its software millionaires and its poverty-stricken millions.

Visiting Hyderabad, one of India's hi-tech centres of software development, he urged entrepreneurs to use their technology for a "higher purpose".

Millions of Indians are connected to the internet, but millions more aren't connected to fresh water

President Clinton
"Millions of Indians are connected to the internet, but millions more aren't connected to fresh water," the president said.

"India accounts for 30% of the world's software engineers, but 25% of the world's malnourished," he added.

He said the US would launch a five-year $5m initiative to help bring internet access into schools and businesses in rural areas, promoting e-commerce, as well as online education and health resources.

Health care

Before plunging into the world of hi-tech business, Mr Clinton got a glimpse of India's health problems by visiting a Hyderabad hospital.

Schoolchildren greet the president in Hyderabad
He watched three TB patients receiving treatment, and then helped administer polio vaccine to a baby.

He also called for efforts to be stepped up to combat Aids.

"We want to do for Aids, for malaria, for TB what you have done for polio," he said.

"We must strengthen prevention, speed research, develop vaccines and ultimately eliminate these modern plagues from the face of the earth."

He announced the US would contribute $4m this year to an Aids programme in India.

Hyderabad, the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, boasts offices of Microsoft, Oracle, GE Capital and other American firms.

India is rapidly becoming a world leader in technology, with computer software exports second only to those from the United States.

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Clinton in South Asia
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Key stories:
What did the trip achieve?
Protecting the president
South Asia's nuclear race
Clinton and the Kashmir question
Economic ties:
Americans eye South Asia
India's high-tech hopes
Village gets makeover
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 Kashmir: Should Clinton mediate?

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See also:

15 Feb 00 | South Asia
Cyber city gears up
24 Mar 00 | South Asia
Bill denied jumbo jaunt
23 Mar 00 | South Asia
In pictures: Clinton in India
23 Mar 00 | Media reports
Clinton charms the press
22 Mar 00 | South Asia
Clinton on the tiger's trail
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