I have always believed that India and America are indispensable partners.
During the time that I have been Prime Minister and particularly during the time that President Obama and I have worked together, I think President Obama has made an outstanding contribution to strengthening, widening and deepening of our cooperation in diverse fields.
When I came to America in 2005, in addressing the United States' Congress I said there are partnerships based on principles and partnerships based on pragmatism. I then said that in the case of Indo-American cooperation, both principles of our commitment to democratic values, rule of law and pragmatism, both combined to make us strong and durable partners. And I am very happy to say that during the last five years that I have worked together with President Obama, that process has got strengthened in every possible way.
India and America are working together to give our cooperation a new sense of commitment, widening and deepening it in diverse directions. We are cooperating in expanding the frontiers of trade, investment in technology. Our bilateral trade today is USUSD 100 billion. American investments in India are USUSD 80 billion and they are growing despite the slowdown in the global economy.
Outside the area of trade, technology and investment, we are exploring avenues of cooperation in new areas like energy cooperation, clean coal technologies, energy-efficient technologies, cooperation in the field of environment, cooperation in the field of defence and security-related, cooperation with regard to intelligence gathering and counter-terrorism. In all these areas India needs the United States to be standing by our side. And I am very pleased to know that President Obama has imparted a powerful impetus to that process of our two countries being on the same page.
The President briefed me about his initiatives both with regard to Syria and with regard to Iran; and I complimented him for his vision, for his courage in giving diplomacy yet another chance. India fully supports these initiatives because six million Indians live in the West Asia and the Middle East. They earn their livelihood. Their ...(Inaudible)... an important role of sustaining our balance of payments. Therefore, anything that contributes to peace and stability in the Middle East, in Iran, in Syria, is something which is in the interest of the global economy. It is certainly in the interest of people in the region in which India is placed.
We have also discussed our relations and our approach to dealing with Afghanistan and Pakistan. I explained to President Obama the difficulties that we face given the fact that the epicentre of terror still remains focused in Pakistan. And I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif even though the expectations have to be toned down given the terror arm which is still active in our subcontinent.
Overall, I have come here to thank President Obama for all that he has done to strengthen, widen and deepen the cooperation between our two countries.
I explained to the President that India is a poor country. Our basic task is to improve the standard of living of our people, to get rid of mass poverty, ignorance and disease which still afflict millions and millions of our people, and in that struggle we want America to stand by our side. And in the President the United States has a leader who realises and recognises the contribution that resurgent India can make not only to fighting poverty but also to global peace and prosperity.
--IBNS (Posted on 28-09-2013)