India an important ally: US

India an important ally: US

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs speaks to the media at the White House in Washington on Friday. AP

"I think it goes without saying that India is an important ally," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters on Friday when asked if after winning the Nobel Peace Prize President Barack Obama, who has often mentioned Mahatma Gandhi in his speeches, would work harder than ever for global peace, including in the Indian subcontinent.

Referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's upcoming visit next month, the spokesman noted that after Obama returns from his trip to Asia, "We will have... an important event here at the White House - the president's first state dinner."

"And obviously we continue to be very engaged with the Indians to bring about peace in obviously an important region of the world," Gibbs said.

Asked if the prize will give new momentum to the climate bill at home and increase the chances of a successful conclusion of the Copenhagen round of talks in December, he said: "It's important for the world to understand that the US is taking, granted, long overdue but important, steps to ensuring that we're part of that solution." 

But "the challenges that we have are not going to be solved by one man, they're not going to be solved by one nation, unless or until other developing nations - the Chinese, the Indians, the Brazilians - also come to that larger table with solutions that are not just voluntary but that embody, again, international collective action to address that issue," Gibbs said.

"Obviously the President has promised and staked his belief that it is important to do this, and we will continue to work on it through the end of the year," he said adding: "If it happens, we'd certainly be proud to do that and go to Copenhagen with it."

Asked if the peace prize and a poll showing that the United States' standing in the world has improved dramatically since Obama was elected said something about former president George Bush's standing in the world, Gibbs said: "Well, I'll leave (that) to the myriad of pundits."

The spokesman said he would reiterate that re-establishing "US leadership in the world through reengaging the world in active diplomacy on issues like nuclear non-proliferation, on climate change, on peace in the Middle East - that is a good thing both here for our safety and security.

"And it's a good thing for the world in the ideals that we hope to achieve and that are shared by billions on the planet. And I think it's something the president is enormously proud of."