Wednesday, 1 October 2014

US-India Joint Statement after President Obama - PM Modi meet

Given below are extracts from and comments on the US-India joint statement made on Sept. 30th 2014/1st October 2014 after the meetings of USA president Barrack Obama and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. The full statement is available at and at under month October 2014 (click on left table entry titled "Joint Statement during the visit of Prime Minister to USA (01-October 2014)".

The two leaders extolled the broad strategic and global partnership between the United States and India, which will continue to generate greater prosperity and security for their citizens and the world.  Prime Minister Modi emphasized the priority India accords to its partnership with the United States, a principal partner in the realization of India’s rise as a responsible, influential world power.  Given the shared values, people-to-people ties, and pluralistic traditions, President Obama recognized that India’s rise as a friend and partner is in the United States’ interest.  They endorsed the first “Vision Statement for the Strategic Partnership” as a guide to strengthen and deepen cooperation in every sector for the benefit of global stability and people’s livelihoods over the next ten years.  They committed to a new mantra for the relationship, “Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go.”

[Ravi: This reinforces very well the joint article they wrote recently, "21st century US-India partnership article by Indian PM Modi and US President Obama in the Washington Post", Great!]


Noting that two-way trade has increased fivefold since 2001 to nearly $100 billion, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi committed to facilitate the actions necessary to increase trade another fivefold.  President Obama and Prime Minister Modi recognized that U.S. and Indian businesses have a critical role to play in sustainable, inclusive, and job-led growth and development.

[Ravi: Fivefold growth in US-India trade since 2001! Very interesting! I think the next five-fold growth could happen in a smaller timeframe.]

In this context, the U.S. government welcomes India's offer for U.S. industry to be the lead partner in developing smart cities in Ajmer (Rajasthan), Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh).  The Prime Minister will welcome two trade missions in 2015 focused on meeting India’s infrastructure needs with U.S. technology and services.

They also committed to a new partnership to advance the Prime Minister's goal of improved access to clean water and sanitation for all.  USAID, through the Urban India Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Alliance, will serve as knowledge partner to help leverage private and civil society innovation, expertise, and technology, such as with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to support the Prime Minister's  500 Cities National Urban Development Mission and Clean India Campaign.

[Ravi: Wonderful! For sure, India can learn and benefit a lot from US expertise in these matters. Most of USA cities and towns are way, way ahead of India in terms of hygiene and utility services like clean water. Very interesting to note the mention of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. While I do not know the details of this foundation's contributions to improving quality of life of poor Indians I think it is significant. I appreciate Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their help in this regard.]

The President welcomed the Prime Minister’s ambitious plan to extend basic financial services to all its citizens, giving them powerful tools to manage their finances and more fully participate in India's growing economy.

[Ravi: Very interesting that President Obama took note of Indian PM's recent ambitious financial services inclusion initiative, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (Prime Minister's Scheme for People's Wealth),]

The President and Prime Minister underlined the important contribution that U.S. locomotive technology, equipment to monitor rail system assets, and U.S. best practices can play in modernizing India’s vast railway network, including accessing programs of U.S. Trade and Development Agency in this work.

[Ravi: US involvement in improving the mega Indian Railways network, the lifeline of the common Indian man, will be great.]


They recognized in particular the contribution of the Indian and U.S. Information Technology (IT) industry and the IT-enabled service industry in strengthening India-U.S. trade and investment relations.

[Ravi: Being an Indian IT guy myself with a lot of US company-India company projects under my belt during my 18 year stint in Indian IT industry, I like this recognition :).]


The President also offered to support the Prime Minister to achieve his goal of preparing young Indians for 21st century jobs through new partnerships to share expertise and global standards for skills development in India, including by reinvigorating the Higher Education Dialogue.

[Ravi: Very, very interesting. But we need to see how this works out. The previous Indian govt. also had announced similar, if not the same, goals but they could not bring about Indian higher education policy changes needed to facilitate USA participation. This govt. has the brute force majority in the Indian parliament - so they can push through the required policy changes. I think the coming months may be pretty interesting times for Indian higher education, at least from a policy change point of view. But the results of any such policy changes may take years to have significant effect.]


Recognizing the critical importance of increasing energy access, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving resilience in the face of climate change, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi agreed to a new and enhanced strategic partnership on energy security, clean energy, and climate change.  They agreed to strengthen and expand the highly successful U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) through a series of priority initiatives, including a new Energy Smart Cities Partnership to promote efficient urban energy infrastructure; a new program to scale-up renewable energy integration into India’s power grid; cooperation to support India’s efforts to upgrade its alternative energy institutes and to develop new innovation centers; an expansion of the Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) program to unlock additional private sector investment and accelerate the deployment of cost-effective, super-efficient appliances; and the formation of a new Clean Energy Finance Forum to promote investment and trade in clean energy projects.

Both leaders are committed to working towards a successful outcome in Paris in 2015 of the conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the creation of a new global agreement on climate change.

[Ravi: I think clean energy initiatives are absolutely vital for India. Otherwise climate change fueled by greenhouse gas emissions can become more and more dangerous and devastating for India and the world. I truly hope and pray that either through the US-India partnership or through something else, clean and environment-friendly energy becomes the main energy source for India in the not-so-distant future.]

Fundamental science and high technology cooperation has been a critical pillar of the strategic partnership, the two leaders confirmed, and they looked forward to renewing the Science and Technology Agreement in order to expand joint activities in innovative technology.  The Prime Minister welcomed the United States as a partner country, for the first time, at India’s annual Technology Summit in November 2014. In addition, they committed to convene the ninth High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG).  They plan to launch new partnerships to source and scale innovation for the benefit of citizens in both countries and to harness innovation to solve global development challenges.

[Ravi: Great! A very interesting aspect is that both the leaders are pretty aggressive in adoption of technology to solve current day problems including matters like citizen services being delivered through the Internet.]


The leaders committed to partner on the Digital India initiative, with the goal of enhancing digital infrastructure, deploying e-governance and e-services, promoting industry collaboration, and digitally empowering India’s citizens.

[Ravi: I wonder how exactly this will work out. I think a lot needs to be done in terms of co-ordination of volunteers offering services to Digital India network. But, without doubt, the USA has awesome expertise in digital services on a mega scale provided to users worldwide by US managed private companies, with some of these services being offered free to users (e.g. gmail). So the USA could offer a lot on the Digital India initiative.]

The President welcomed India's proposal to establish the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN, or Knowledge) under which India would invite and host up to 1,000 American academics each year to teach in centrally-recognized Indian Universities, at their convenience.

[Ravi: Wonderful! USA is the leader in higher education. It will be great to have a thousand USA academics (in addition to those who already visit India regularly) visit India to teach!]


The President and Prime Minister recognized the extensive ongoing cooperation in the health sector which they will put to use in preventing the spread of the Ebola virus.  The President welcomed India’s contribution to the UN Fund and donation of protective gear to the effort against Ebola, and thanked the Prime Minister for encouraging Indian-owned businesses in West Africa to contribute to the fight against Ebola.  The Prime Minister also offered to deploy Indian expertise in the fight against Ebola, including by investing its resources in producing modelling of the spread of the disease, jointly producing rapid deployable diagnostics, and considering joint training of response personnel.

[Ravi: This kind of collaboration to fight dangerous diseases like Ebola is heart-warming, even if India's contribution may be somewhat small, as of now at least.]

The United States stands ready to amplify India's efforts to achieve a further reduction in preventable child and maternal deaths, including replicating India's successful approaches in other countries.

The leaders agreed to launch a new phase of the India-U.S. Vaccine Action Program to develop affordable vaccines for dengue, malaria, and tuberculosis, and the establishment of an adjuvant development center.  They also agreed in principle to initiate cooperative activities to increase capacity in cancer research and patient care delivery, including by developing collaborative programs for and with India's upcoming AIIMS-National Cancer Institute.  The President welcomed India’s offer to take a leading role in the Global Health Security Agenda.

[Ravi: Sounds very good.]

Highlighting their shared democratic values, the President and Prime Minister recognized the critical role that women play in India and the United States, as shown by India’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” (“Save Daughters, Celebrate Daughters, Educate Daughters”) initiative.  They looked forward to holding a Women Empowerment Dialogue in order to exchange best practices to enhance the role of women in their countries, and they asserted zero tolerance for violence against women.

[Ravi: Given the very sorry incidents of abuse of women that continues to happen in India despite the government's all out efforts to weed it out, I think it is good that mention is made of these matters even in such a top-level statement. Continued focus by Indian and international, media and governments, on this menace is necessary to prevent the fight against it from weakening.]


The President expressed appreciation for the contributions of Indian peacekeepers to global peace and stability for the past 60 years, and welcomed the partnership with India to train third country peacekeepers at India’s training center in New Delhi.

[Ravi: I am happy to see that India's contributions to UN peacekeeping over the decades, have been recognized by the US president.]

--- end extracts and comments ---

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