Remarks as prepared by Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on May 13, 2011.
Thank you so much for inviting me to speak at CSIS today. It is a pleasure to be introduced by my distinguished predecessor and friend Ambassador Rick Inderfurth. I’m pleased to see that as the new Wadhwani Chair of U.S.-India Policy Studies, Rick and his team have dug right in, playing a vital role celebrating the successes and highlighting the challenges in U.S.-India relations today. CSIS provides policymakers with an exceptional array of commentary and analysis on a daily basis and I’m thrilled that they have added such an important India thinker to the CSIS team.
I heard that Rick, in the course he taught on South Asia Politics at the George Washington University, began each semester with a certain quotation by the great statesman and former Ambassador to India, Chester Bowles. Bowles noted upon his return to the United States in 1969 after serving as Ambassador to India for the previous two years, that engaging with India was in the United States’ national interest, and that India would have a “big impact on the world.” Some 42 years later, Bowles’ sentiments are truer today than ever.
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.