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Remarks by External Affairs Minister at USIBC event

September 22, 2015

Honorable John Kerry, Secretary of State,
Secretary Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce,
My colleagues, Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goel,
Mr. Ajay Banga, Chairman USIBC,
Mr. Mukesh Aghi, President of the USIBC,
Friends from business and government,
Ladies and gentlemen,


Thank you very much Secretary Kerry for your warm and generous words.

Let me also thank Mr. Banga, Chairman USIBC and President Mukesh Aghi for inviting me and my Ministerial colleagues from India to share the joy and success of USIBC at its 40th Anniversary celebrations.

I would also like to thank Vice President, Excellency Joe Biden for his gracious presence here and his resounding optimism about the India-U.S. relations. This has created the right atmosphere for the first meeting of the India-U.S. Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, which I look forward to co-chairing with my friend, Secretary Kerry, tomorrow.

I also deeply appreciate the crucial role of my colleagues Minister Sitharaman, Minister Piyush Goyal; and U.S. Commerce Secretary Pritzker and Energy Secretary Moniz in the successful outcome of the dialogue.

It is true that an important pillar in the broad sweep of our multifaceted partnership has been the strength and vigour of the private sector partnership between our two great democracies. USIBC and its membership manifest the tangibilities of this vitality in our economic and commercial ties.

You have been one of the key drivers and a positive voice in the growth, evolution and continuing maturing of India-U.S. relations.

I commend your achievements, and in keeping with your past successes, urge you to create new synergies that bring the businesses and governments closer to each other.

Friends,

Today, our relations with the U.S. are defined by a natural synergy of democracies and easy identification among our peoples.

We are both open societies which value education and enterprise. Institutions in both India and the United States - the executive, legislature, political parties and businesses - pulsate with the same values and beliefs.

Americans of Indian origin epitomize the appreciation of excellence, reflecting the freedom and opportunity cherished in our countries. During the last one-and-half year of Prime Minister Modi’s government, a sense of vigour and purpose, steady stream of new ideas, creative approaches and focused action have dominated our bilateral engagement.

Today, across both Governments, there is a great deal of comfort, maturity and candor in our conversation. There is political support for building relations with each other, in both capitals - here in the U.S. Congress and in our Parliament. In last one year, we have worked to underpin our political and strategic convergences with concrete action on the ground to progress our overall engagement.

We have harnessed the commonalities between our two countries to further bilateral priorities in several areas, including defence and security; countering terrorism and extremism; clean energy and environment protection; S&T and Space; manufacturing and digital technology.

We have developed mechanisms for co-development and co-production of defence equipment and practical collaboration in defence technologies to enhance the strategic content in our relations.

Our countries are promoting energy cooperation to facilitate India's green growth, sustainable development and energy security.

We are doing so not only in the bilateral space but also in responding to the global challenge of climate change. We are linked by ties of research, education, health and science.

Above all, in charting future path of cooperation in these areas, our collaboration has not only served our two countries but served the wider world.

Friends, one of the key priorities of Prime Minister Modi’s Government is to focus sharply on meeting India’s developmental priorities and overcoming various challenges. Naturally, high economic growth is one of the ways for us to address our needs.

But, beyond relying on the downstream impact of high growth, the matrix of our responses also includes efficient, effective and transparent policy and executive action.

The approach of our Government also envisages proactive and extensive use of innovation, technology and research to leapfrog some of the physical infrastructural constraints that we face.

Friends, you are best placed to make your business decisions. But, it would help if I underline here the scale of India’s economic ambition and the size of economic opportunity that it represents for both our countries. Our focus is on building 100 smart cities; rejuvenating the Ganges river and developing cities along its banks and skilling 300 million youth by 2022.

We have plans to boost urbanization and we are determined to provide affordable power and housing for all. We want to connect manufacturing in India with global supply chains and target to develop product based and service based industrial and governance platforms around Digital India.

All of these initiatives and plans present real commercial and business opportunities for the U.S. industry to partner with Indian public and private sector, and with a larger economy for a win-win outcome.

In doing so, and as is your key goal, you would of course create wealth for your organization.

But, equally importantly, you would add value to the society, build long term links with India’s economic growth story and strengthen economic underpinnings of the India-U.S. strategic partnership.

The business of diplomacy in India’s present government is business. The government’s priority from day one has been to make it easy to do business in India and with India.

We want to ensure that the concerns of those who create jobs and bring value to our countries are addressed. The decisions taken by Government have led to a significant jump in FDI inflow into India in the last one year.

Friends,

As I said earlier, there is a strong recognition between our two governments of the larger strategic vision driving our partnership.

That is why we elevated our relations through a Declaration of Friendship and adopted a Joint Strategic Vision for Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region earlier this year, when our leaders met in New Delhi for India’s Republic Day.

This strategic vision is also what I would appeal our business friends in the U.S. to imbibe while doing business with India.

We see business between our two countries not simply as transactions, but as yet another manifestation and another multiplier of that very important strategic convergence.

We hope this will be reciprocated by the businesses. It will be a rewarding experience, in more than one sense. I assure you that Government of India, and my Ministry in particular, will be with you in every step of this endeavour.

I end my remarks with full hope and confidence in my heart in the ability of our businesses to make the right choice for them and for our nations and our 1.5 billion peoples, and to carry forward that choice through Sanjha Prayas Sabka Vikas, that is, Shared effort; prosperity for all.

Our joint effort would help make India-U.S. partnership, as President Obama had said, "one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”

Thank you.


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