Stressing the importance of US-India relationship in the 21st century, the United states today announced that its boosting its efforts to strengthen its strategic cooperation with India.
In his remarks at Washington DC today, Deputy Secretary William Burns for Center for American Progress says India’s rise and the promise of U.S.-Indian partnership – is one of those rarest of Washington species, especially ten days before a Presidential election, a genuinely bipartisan policy priority.
Mr. Burns says as India’s recent economic rise has expanded its role and deepened its stake in shaping the international system, the US is counting on India’s rise as a truly global power – one that looks east and west, a strategic partner for economic growth, security, and the provision of public goods.
“The U.S.-India relationship must be a cornerstone of the Asia-Pacific century ahead.” -Mr. Burns
And as the world’s economic and strategic center of gravity shifts east, the United States is not the only nation emphasizing its role as a resident diplomatic, economic and military power in the Asia-Pacific, he noted.
Mr. Burns says India and the United States have a powerful and shared interest in an Asia-Pacific where economic interdependence drives growth and shared prosperity.
“India has shown increasing signs that it intends to build on its longstanding “Look East” policy.” -Mr. Burns
India is revitalizing centuries-old commercial ties with countries to its east and making headway on an Indo-Pacific corridor through Bangladesh and Burma that connects South and Southeast Asia, Mr. Burns stressed.
Mr. Burns notes that India has hosted the Mekong-Ganga ministerial meeting and held 2+2 consultations with Japan, and next week will host the U.S. and Japan for trilateral consultations.
The ASEAN-India Summit will come to New Delhi this winter, he cited.
Looking westward, Ms Burns says both the United States and India have a strong interest in a peaceful, stable future for Afghanistan.
According to Mr. Burns, the same week the U.S. and Afghanistan signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement in May, New Delhi hosted the inaugural meeting of the India-Afghanistan Partnership Council and in a few weeks President Karzai will pay a return visit to Delhi.
“India and the U.S. share a long-term commitment to pursue sustainable economic growth, strong democratic institutions and an Afghan-led process of peace and reconciliation – commitments reflected in the first United States-India-Afghanistan trilateral dialogue in September.” -Mr. Burns
The United States will lead a security transition in –not a departure from Afghanistan, he added.
India has committed more than $2 billion in development assistance to Afghanistan since 2001, building on ties that go back to the early Indus Valley civilizations, Mr. Burns stated.
Even without direct access to India’s growing markets, Afghanistan already sends one quarter of its exports to India, Mr. Burns noted
He stresses that extending trade and transit agreements outward to India and Central Asia will allow Afghan traders to return to the marketplaces of Amritsar and Delhi.
Deeper defense and security ties have become another leading indicator of a burgeoning strategic partnership, Mr. Burns noted.
As India’s military influence grows, US hopes that its partnership can become one of its closest in the region.
“We are united by our experience of tragedy and terror, shared threats in Afghanistan and a shared vision for a peaceful and open Asia-Pacific.” -Mr. Burns
The US government is proud of its robust counterterrorism cooperation.
Ms. Burns reports that since 2008, India has bought over $8 billion in U.S. defense equipment, up from effectively zero less than a decade ago. When we complete delivery of India’s $4 billion in C-17 aircraft, our combined fleet will represent the largest air lift capability in the world.
“These are indispensible assets for global response to crisis and disaster; last year’s delivery of the C-130J Hercules came just in time for rescue operations after the Sikkim earthquake.” -Mr. Burns
US military services conduct some of their largest joint exercises with India, including over fifty formal engagements in the past year.
The US will continue to seek India’s help in building what Secretary Clinton has called “a global architecture of cooperation.”
Mr. Burns pointed out that while it is true that the international architecture has sometimes struggled to keep up with the emergence of a rising India, it is equally true that India has sometimes bristled at the burdens of global leadership.
“Both need to change, and both, I would argue, are changing.” -Mr. Burns
In addition, Mr. Burns states that in the UN Human Rights Council, India made a powerful call for enhanced efforts to achieve reconciliation and accountability in troubled Sri Lanka.
He pointed out that while they certainly don’t agree on everything, or see eye-to-eye on every issue, what matters is that India is continuing to use its resources and standing to help others enjoy the peace, prosperity and freedom its own people have worked so hard to achieve for themselves.
Earlier this week, emphasizing that its strategic partnership with India is of abiding importance to the United States, the United States of America today announced that US-India bilateral trade is flourishing, and is expected to surpass $100 billion this year.
In an interview with Indian media, Deputy Secretary Wiliam J. Burns in New Delhi said both countries have done a considerable amount to remove impediments to further expansion of their trade relationship, including in high technology and defense trade
The US government is encouraged by the Indian government’s recent bold steps toward economic reforms.
U.S. investors will respond positively to these measures with concrete, job-creating projects and proposals.
In addition, the US has welcomed the progress the Indian government has made with Pakistan on building trade and investment ties and appreciates the leading role India has played in spurring private sector investment in Afghanistan.
U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue
Since Secretary Clinton hosted Minister Krishna in Washington in June for the third U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, the interaction between the two governments has continued to deepen and expand. Strong support across the political spectrum in the United States, as well as in India, gives us reason for continued optimism about the bilateral relationship in the years ahead.
The US considers India a model of democratic governance, tolerance and rule of law, that can play a critical role throughout the Middle East and North Africa, as well as East Asia, to support the strengthening of democratic institutions, civil society, education, and many other fields.