Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, Raksha Mantri ji.
It is a great pleasure to meet all of you at the conclusion of a productive and substantive 2+2 Dialogue today. Earlier in the day we participated in a Summit of our Leaders and we also met departmentally. These meetings are taking place at a time when the global order is facing multiple challenges and stresses.
Obviously, a good part of my meeting with Secretary Blinken in the morning went to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine that has many ramifications. Even countries far away are worrying about energy security, food security, commodities prices and logistics disruption.
This comes on top of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, with which the world has been struggling for the last two years. Quite apart from public health concerns and its economic impact, this has raised awareness about the need for reliable and resilient supply chains. Autonomously, the nature of globalisation and usage of technology has brought to fore concerns of trust and transparency.
How to ensure a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific was also on our agenda today. We spoke of developments in and around Afghanistan that have made their ripples felt well beyond. Our conversations also covered recent happenings in the Indian subcontinent.
Strategic partnerships like those between India and the United States are built through shared interests, common values and constant nurturing. It is natural that each of us will bring to the relationship our particular perspectives, experiences and priorities. But when there is a mutual appreciation of the significance of our ties, there is also a desire to better understand each other’s thinking. Our dialogue today, I believe, has helped in that regard.
The report card of our bilateral cooperation is an impressive one. Defence Minister has already spoken of the great strides made in the field of defence and security. We also partner closely in counterterrorism and maritime security, making the world a much safer place. The integrated perspective that we brought to bear in this 2+2 format only underlines the gains made in different domains in recent times.
The economic side of the story is particularly significant. Both trade and investment are steadily growing. We have had discussions today on both of them, as also on connectivity, infrastructure, digital issues, climate action and energy. Our shared activities in space, science and technology and health are also noteworthy. We see our cooperation as having a larger relevance for the Indo-Pacific.
The bedrock of our relationship, as you would all agree, is its human element. It could be the students who come to universities, the flow of talent that defines our knowledge partnership or the indeed the technology and business relationships which promote innovation. They are all examples of the human bridge that connects our societies so uniquely. I look forward to highlighting this aspect tomorrow at an event in Howard University where I would have the pleasure of speaking along with Secretary Blinken.
In a changing world, India-US ties have not only kept pace but actually emerged as a major contributor to global peace, stability and prosperity. This is not just the weight of our expanding partnership, but also the impact it makes on addressing global issues. Our vaccine cooperation can enhance its affordability and accessibility. Our B2B and G2G dealings can contribute to better connectivity and reliable supply chains. Our climate collaboration is underlined by the United States joining the International Solar Alliance and co-chairing the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
Challenges in the Indo-Pacific have also been a particular focus of our discussions. We appreciate the attention and energy devoted by the United States to the Quad. Its elevation and intensification in the last year benefits the entire Indo-Pacific. Indeed, the Quad has emerged as a powerful force of global good.
So, let me sum up our discussions in three broad points. One, it has helped us today to strategize on mitigating the volatility and unpredictability that the world is currently experiencing. That will be naturally reflected in our policies. Two, it has encouraged us to think together on long term challenges, especially in the Indo-Pacific. And three, it has energized our collaborative endeavours to build, what is emerging as a key bilateral relationship of our times.
April 11, 2022