News / Asia

Kerry Looks to Strengthen Ties During India Visit

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waves as he boards his plane at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on his way to Doha, June 21, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waves as he boards his plane at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on his way to Doha, June 21, 2013.
Aru Pande
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling to India next week to head the latest round of strategic dialogue between two of the world's largest democracies.

In a video message to India ahead of his trip, Kerry repeated President Barack Obama’s sentiment that the U.S.-India friendship is one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.

Kerry cited key areas of collaboration that are already taking place between the two countries. “From higher education to clean energy, from counterterrorism to space science, we are seizing new opportunities to work together, and in doing so, we’re increasing the prosperity and security of both our peoples," he said. "The U.S. and India share a strong enduring commitment to Afghanistan’s peace and prosperity.”

The secretary pointed growing bilateral trade, which he said has increased five-fold in the last decade to $86 billion in 2011.

But analysts said the U.S.-Indian relationship is not without its challenges.

While trade has increased in the defense sector, Washington has called for greater access for its goods to the Indian market.  For its part, New Delhi wants a friendlier U.S. immigration policy that will make it easier for highly skilled Indian workers to enter the American job market.

Former Indian ambassador and United Nations special envoy S.D. Muni said these issues are not new and must be worked through in order for the relationship to reach a higher level.

“The potential of Indo-US relations depends on all these legitimate concerns to be smoothened and harnessed, because in no way have the India and U.S. reached their full potential. In fact, Indian-Chinese trade is much more than Indo-U.S. trade and U.S.-Chinese trade is huge as compared to Indo-U.S. trade,” stated Muni.

A group of American lawmakers recently joined the National Association of Manufacturers and other U.S. business organizations in urging President Obama to take action against the Indian government for what they said are discriminatory trade practices.

In a letter to Obama, U.S. business groups refer to Indian court rulings, which they say have repeatedly ignored internationally recognized rights, including “denying, breaking, or revoking patents for nearly a dozen lifesaving medications.”
The Indian Supreme Court in April rejected pharmaceutical company Novartis’ attempt to patent a new version of a cancer drug - a landmark decision that allows Indian companies to continue making cheaper, generic versions of the medication.
Bharat Karnad with the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research said the issue will likely come up during next week’s strategic dialogue.  “The problem is, of course, the Indian court's ruling that in terms of life-saving drugs and medicines that the patent laws can be breached, because that is more important," he said. "[The court found] it’s more important to save lives than to ensure profits for American pharmaceutical concerns [companies]. That is a difficult issue, and I am not sure what the resolution is considering the stance that the Indian courts have taken.”
Karnad said the U.S. and India should focus on the bigger picture - and collaborate closely as both nations look to increase influence and investment in the Asia-Pacific.

The pivot towards Asia is one of the Obama administration’s key foreign policy initiatives, and India, for many years, has also had a “look East” policy.  Karnad recalls former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said during a 2011 visit to India that the South Asian nation should not just look East, but “engage East and act East.”

“If India were to do that and firm up its security cooperation with the Southeast Asian nations, with Taiwan, the Philippines and all those other countries, Vietnam in particular, and have the larger overarching structural link-ups with United States, Japan and the far-east -- then you have a very viable security architecture,” stated Karnad.

Kerry on Sunday travels from Doha to New Delhi, where he will give a policy speech. He chairs the fourth annual strategic dialogue and holds talks with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid before heading to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Mohanan from: Chennai
June 23, 2013 5:03 AM
Other than business deals, America and India can make rapid and vast changes in the world so that peace will prevail in the earth where we dwell on it. For example, lust on others land, encroachment, maritime insecurity, illegal demand of certain group of people and ultimately they becomes terrorists. Therefore, america and India along with allies should join hands and do all kinds of options.

by: Mohan from: Chennai
June 23, 2013 4:36 AM
Business relationship alone will not help both the countries to cement the relationship. There are many unresolved problems worldwide, which both U.S. and India can jointly solve. For example, maritime freedom, lust on others land, hierarchy, trying illegal domination over other countries etc. etc are the top most priority. America and India should jointly look into all those and solve it so that peace will prevail in earth.

by: Gary Zaetz
June 22, 2013 1:13 PM
On Thursday, Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake pointed out on the Facebook site for the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs that Secretary of State Kerry will be visiting India from June 23- 25. The announcement also asked visitors the following inane question: “Secretary of State John Kerry will be traveling to India this weekend. Can you recommend some foods he should try while he is there?” , rather than asking people what he thought he should actually do for the American people while he is there. Here is the response I posted to that site: “The American people, Mr. Blake, should be more concerned with what he will do to further American interests in India during his visit than anything as frivolous and unimportant as what he is going to be eating. For instance, I'm more interested in what he is going to do to get the Indian Government to finally allow expedited recovery of the remains of 400 American soldiers lost in India during World War II !!"...Gary Zaetz, nephew of 1st Lt. Irwin Zaetz, whose remains at his documented World War II crash site in India have not been permitted by the Indian Government to be recovered, in violation of US-India bilateral agreements and international humanitarian law.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs