Saturday, 13 January 2018

USA Ambassador to India, Ken Juster's inaugural policy address on USA India relations

https://www.facebook.com/India.usembassy/videos/1572035926245764/, dated 12th Jan 2018, is a video post with the following text:

U.S. Embassy India

#ICYMI! Watch Ambassador Kenneth I. Juster’s inaugural policy address on #USIndia relations at Carnegie India. #USAmbPolicySpeech

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Ravi: I shared the above post with the following introductory comments:
Slightly over an hour. Seems to be a clear enunciation of USA policy and view of USA-India relationship from the Hon'ble Ambassador. He speaks candidly of the challenges and highlights the common ground that the two countries have. As an Indian citizen I am all for a strong USA India relationship in this 21st century as I see so much of shared interests and shared values between USA and India.
--- end my FB post contents ----

Here is a transcript of Ambassador Ken Juster's speech: https://in.usembassy.gov/u-s-india-relations-building-durable-partnership-21st-century/.

I have given below some extracts from the above transcript:

It is an honor to be with you to deliver my inaugural address as the U.S. Ambassador to India.

I have been fortunate to be deeply involved in U.S. relations with India since 2001 – both in government and in the private sector.  Throughout this time – and even before – I have often marveled at India’s ancient history and rich culture.  The Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished almost 5,000 years ago, featured the world’s first planned cities.  It began a remarkable story of a subcontinent that has produced major religions, classical languages, and countless contributions to the fields of science, art, and literature, among others.

Now, as I embark upon my journey as Ambassador, I would like to begin a conversation with you – my Indian friends – about the impact our relationship can have on the 21st century and beyond.  The thoughts I offer will be complete only with your input.  So I look forward to your reactions.

...

One compliment that does resonate with me was offered by the President of India when I presented my credentials:  he called me “a friend of India.”  It is a comment that others have made as well, which I consider a great honor.

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[About his experiences in navigating the tough discussions between USA and India on the civil nuclear deal which took many years to reach some level of agreement:]

These qualities – respect, trust, acceptance, confidence, and resilience and constancy – were critical to the success we achieved.  They are also an intrinsic part of our people-to-people relationships, perhaps best exemplified by the large Indian diaspora in the United States that fully engages in American life, yet still maintains close ties to India.  Indian entrepreneurs, in particular, have successfully bridged our two cultures and made a significant mark on the American technology landscape, while also benefiting India.  Today, approximately 33 percent of all immigrant-founded startups in the United States have Indian founders, a number which far exceeds that of any other group.  Surely, the human dimension of interactions between Indians and Americans has contributed to this incredible statistic.

It is my hope that this same spirit and drive, which is also reflected in the bond between President Trump and Prime Minister Modi, will permeate the routine interactions between government officials of our two countries as we seek to fulfill the potential of our strategic partnership.

Our Values and Interests

As members of diverse, dynamic, multi-religious, and pluralistic democracies, Indians and Americans share the fundamental values of individual liberty, hard work and enterprise, open societies, human rights, and the rule of law.  These values underpin a friendship bolstered by conviction, rather than merely by expediency.  Based on our values, we have common interests in playing by the rules, enjoying freedom of trade and commerce, and resolving disputes peacefully in accordance with international law.
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Economic and Commercial Relations

Let me turn to a second pillar in building out our strategic partnership – our economic and commercial relationship.  India is in the midst of an economic surge as it integrates more fully into the global economy.  In turn, the U.S. trade and investment relationship with India continues to grow.  Bilateral trade has gone from approximately 20 billion dollars in 2001 to 115 billion dollars in 2016.  Of course, given the size of our respective markets, there is still plenty of room to expand the flow of goods and services in both directions and, in the process, for trade to become more reciprocal.

The United States counts on all of our partners to work with us to ensure fair and balanced trade.  We are concerned about persistent trade deficits, including the one we have with India.  We welcome steps by India to continue its reform agenda, expand market access, and further enhance the protection of intellectual property.  And we want to work with India to expeditiously resolve trade and investment disputes.  In our view, fully free and fair trade will support and accelerate Prime Minister Modi’s effort to improve India’s long-term growth rate in a sustained way.  In this regard, the Prime Minister’s determination to move India further up on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index is inspiring.

“America First” and “Make in India” are not incompatible.  Rather, investing in each other’s markets will be mutually beneficial – it will increase our economic interactions and volume of trade, lead to collaboration on emerging technologies, and create jobs in both countries.
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Energy and the Environment

A third pillar ripe for enhanced strategic cooperation is energy and the environment.  With the projected growth of India’s economy, the increasing size of its population, the rise of its middle class, and the urbanization of its landscape, India’s energy needs for sustainable and inclusive development are going to be substantial for many years to come.

The United States is uniquely positioned to offer India a comprehensive energy partnership.  This includes all forms of energy – coal; crude oil; natural gas; and nuclear power; as well as technology related to clean fossil fuels, smart grids, energy storage, and renewable resources.  Indeed, last year the United States exported its first major shipment of crude oil to India.  The United States can also help provide the supporting services, infrastructure, and technology that are necessary for India’s efforts to further develop domestic sources of energy and enhance energy security.

The U.S.-India Strategic Energy Partnership will convene early this year at the Ministerial level, and we look forward to welcoming Energy Secretary Perry to New Delhi.  One highlight is our joint work on power and energy efficiency.  As India strives to bring stability to its expanding power grid, U.S. companies offer the technology and expertise to meet the demands on overloaded transmission and distribution systems.  In addition, we are collaborating on the types of policies, regulations, and financial investments that will support the development of a sustainable and profitable grid.
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Science, Technology, and Health

A fourth pillar of our partnership is our focus on sustainable and inclusive development with regard to the welfare of our people.  This includes critical work in science, technology, and health.  Our U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund has supported a range of innovative projects, including those to advance healthcare, improve the environment, and modernize agriculture.  And beyond earth and into space, NASA and ISRO scientists frequently collaborate – demonstrating that there truly are no boundaries to our partnership.

Issues related to health, in particular, are an important shared responsibility, not just because of their direct impact on the safety and well-being of our people, but because of their indirect impact on economic productivity and overall social welfare.  That is why we are looking at novel ways to manage disease.  We jointly developed the first indigenous Indian vaccine for rotavirus, and are now cooperating to develop vaccines to combat tuberculosis, dengue, and other emerging global threats.  We are also engaged in the Global Health Security Agenda, which includes acting to combat antimicrobial resistance and strengthen detection, prevention, and response to epidemics.  In addition, our health agenda addresses the complex problem of HIV as well as the growing burden of non-communicable diseases.
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Conclusion

In sum, we have a very ambitious agenda for the U.S.-India partnership.  In today’s turbulent world, one constant is – and always should be – the strength of this partnership.  I sincerely believe it is as consequential as any relationship in international affairs – both in the opportunities we have and in our potential impact on the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.  While both India and the United States cherish our independence and sovereignty, the true value of our partnership is that it can better enable each of us to positively influence global affairs and achieve our greatest aspirations for the security and prosperity of our people.  Of course, for this to happen, we must approach our task as friends – with respect, trust, acceptance, confidence, and resilience and constancy.

President Trump has referred to India as a “true friend.”  And Prime Minister Modi has echoed Prime Minister Vajpayee’s description of our countries as “natural allies.”  It is now up to us to give further content and substance to these terms.  We must build a partnership that is strong and durable, while also flexible and adaptive.  Let us seize the opportunity before us, so that future generations look back on this period as a time when we truly transformed U.S.-India relations.

Thank you very much.

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[I thank USA Embassy in India and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their Facebook post and website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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