Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, recently testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. In wide-ranging comments, Assistant Secretary Blake touched on a number of topics of interest to Americans living and working in India.
Some excerpts are below, but you can read the entire testimony at the state.gov Web site.
The United States seeks to deepen its strategic partnership with India, highlighted by President Obama’s recent visit to Mumbai and New Delhi in November 2010. Mirroring India’s economic and political dynamism, the entire region is in the midst of a positive trajectory towards prosperity and peace. The United States aims to bolster this regional progress by promoting greater integration, which can build ties that will reinforce democratic institutions, build economies, and enhance security.
The rise of India is in our best interest, and its growth redounds with benefits to our own economy. For instance, during the President’s historic visit to India in November, he announced commercial deals that exceeded $14.9 billion in total value with $9.5 billion in U.S. export content, supporting an estimated 53,670 jobs. These deals reflect a snapshot in what is a growing continuum of mutually beneficial private sector and government deals between our robust, open, democratically-driven societies.
Despite the global economic recession, recently-released goods trade data for 2010 show record goods trade with India. U.S. exports to India rose by 17 percent; U.S. imports from India rose by 40 percent. We will continue to actively engage the Indian government to expand trade and investment opportunities for our businesses.
Given India’s demography, burgeoning economy, and projected needs, we expect our export numbers to India to continue rising dramatically. We estimate that India’s infrastructure needs alone – for sea ports, airports, roads, bridges, energy, hospitals, and the like – will reach a staggering $1.7 trillion. We will facilitate increased economic engagement to take advantage of this opportunity.
India also is among the fastest growing sources of investment into the United States. Investment from India already contributes to the growth of the American economy and to the creation of jobs in the United States. In fact, in the last decade the stock of foreign direct investment into the United States that originated in India grew at an annualized rate of 53 percent reaching an estimated $4.4 billion in 2009.