I had terrific meetings in Washington with Secretary Clinton and with the co-chairs of the India Caucus, Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn. The focus, of course, is the upcoming Strategic Dialogue meeting in mid-July in Delhi between Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna. We discussed the many opportunities that exist today in trade, security, energy, and education for collaboration between our two countries. As evidence of the interest in all-things India in Washington, 37 Senators from both sides of the aisle are now members of the India Caucus and the co-chairs expect membership to increase. It is great for our bilateral relationship when there is interest and attention from all branches of our government. Under Senator Warner and Cornyn’s leadership, the India Caucus can be another effective bipartisan group to bring prosperity and security to Americans and Indians.
Posts Tagged ‘Environment’
As Ambassador, I spend much time explaining the win-win benefits of the U.S.-India economic and commercial relationship to Indians, Indian businesses, and Indian government officials. Yet, this same effort must be done in the United States so it gave me great pleasure to meet with over 100 business leaders in Chicago as a guest of the prestigious Chicago Council on Global Affairs. I discussed the many reasons why President Obama was correct in elevating our bilateral relationship with India to a global strategic partnership with the U.S. and highlighted the many attractions that India has to offer the companies in the audience that are exploring entering the Indian market. For American companies, if you can be patient and come to India with a long-term strategy, you can be very successful.
Meeting with the 25 business leaders at CII and with Gautam Adani in Ahmedabad highlights the importance of targeting other cities in addition to Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad to foster economic cooperation between our two countries. The business that can take place between our two countries in Gujarat demonstrates the win-win proposition that increased commerce brings. At a lunch with CII, the managing director of Dishman Pharmaceuticals explained how his U.S. facility employs 500 American workers in the U.S. Opportunities abound throughout Gujarat for American businesses in such sectors as ports, clean energy, infrastructure, education, and pharmaceuticals, to name a few. We can and will do much more to make American businesses aware of the many possibilities to do business in this state.
When I first arrived in India two years ago, the most common question I received was, “What is the next big thing in the U.S. – India strategic partnership?” The answer is, “There is no one thing.” We have a global partnership today with India. Over the past several years, our partnership has expanded and broadened onto the world stage and we are now collaborating in almost every field of human endeavor. We are working extremely closely on a security partnership sharing intelligence, sharing best practices, and sharing David Headley. We can cooperate in civil space and defense due to President Obama’s leadership in reforming our export control regime and removing Indian entities from our restricted lists. There is the possibility for $10-12 billion in defense sales in the next few years (C-17s. C-130Js, Apache helicopters, etc.). Yet, our defense cooperation is not just about military sales. It is about joint exercises, personnel exchanges, and professional military education that we conduct together, which is improving our capabilities in bringing humanitarian assistance to people in need, keeping shipping lanes open, and providing security to the region. Maritime security and anti-piracy efforts can grow. Two-way trade was up 30 percent in 2010 with opportunities for more in clean energy, technology, infrastructure, and services to name a few. We are partnering in health, education, and in third countries like Afghanistan and in Africa. The progress the U.S.-India global partnership has made under President Obama and Prime Minister Singh’s leadership has brought our two countries together in ways that were unthinkable just a decade ago. With our shared values and shared interests, our two powerful democracies have an opportunity to shape the world in a very positive way.
Being good neighbors is an important value that we share with India. It is always an enjoyable day when I visit and interact with our “neighbors” down the street from our Embassy at the Sanjay Gandhi settlement. Our collaboration in the settlement with the residents, the New Delhi Municipal Corporation, NGO partners, and others represents another way the U.S.-India strategic partnership is benefitting all levels of society, including the local level. I read to Grade 1 and 2 students who are learning English through an innovative program that uses technology to provide fun ways to learn in a classroom. I also met with a women’s health group in the settlement who are improving health care for families in their community. And I even got to do some cooking on a new technology cookstove that will reduce indoor pollution for families. All these programs are improving the social infrastructure at the Sanjay Gandhi Settlement and will be used throughout India to benefit similar communities.
I have had great “karma” (and more likely fantastic safari guides!) in seeing tigers throughout India including in my visits to the Sunderbans National Park in West Bengal and Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. On my last safari ride during a visit to Kaziranga National Park, fortune smiled on me again as I was able to see this majestic animal in the wild. But what really stood out during my visit was the pride I felt when I saw anti-poaching camps that were funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Since 2004, USFWS has “invested” almost $1 million in these camps, to train volunteers to protect the forests and provide anti-poaching training. Along with the Indian government’s partnership, these camps and capacity building measures have been one of the keys to the increase in the one-horned rhino population in Kaziranga. The rhino population has increased from about 12 in 1905 to over 2000 today. I saw scores of rhinos during my safari ride, proof positive that the close collaboration between the Indian government, local NGOs, and U.S. Government support is working for the people of India.
As I have seen elsewhere during my travels throughout India, there is a vibrancy, energy, and thirst for growth and development in Assam, where I visited for the first time. I had the honor of meeting with Governor J. B. Patnaik, and we discussed three areas for potential cooperation between the United States and people of India: 1) education outreach, such as possible agriculture university exchange programs; 2) ways and methods to improve agriculture production and water usage in Assam, where approximately 70 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture and related activities; and 3) creating a second green revolution with a focus on clean energy. I also toured the Numaligarh Refinery, where American-manufactured equipment has increased the capacity of the refinery by close to 50 percent; another example of the win-win benefits of the U.S.-India economic partnership that President Obama discussed on his visit.
Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, several volunteers, my wife Sally, and I took 32 children from a local settlement to the National Zoo. These students are enrolled in an English language program started by Sally so this was a great way for them to practice their English outside the classroom, learn new words, and see some really great stuff! We saw white tigers, one-horned rhinos, black bears, chimpanzees, and so much more. The staff at the zoo did a great job showing us around and letting us visit all the animals. I am not sure who had more fun – the children or the volunteers – but we all had a fantastic time. Tell me, what is your favorite animal to see?