News / Asia

    Kerry: US-India Ties at ‘Potentially Transformative Moment’

    FILE - The U.S. government sees potential for more partnership with the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, shown in Brasilia, Brazil, July 16, 2014.
    FILE - The U.S. government sees potential for more partnership with the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, shown in Brasilia, Brazil, July 16, 2014.
    Victor Beattie

    Relations between the United States and India are at a “potentially transformative moment,” with a new Indian government that presents new opportunities, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.  

    Speaking Monday to the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, Kerry said the overwhelming election victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) presents new possibilities to broaden and improve rocky U.S.-India ties.

    "India’s new government has won a historic mandate to deliver change and reform,” Kerry said, “and, together, we have a singular opportunity to help India meet that challenge to boost two-way trade, to drive South Asia’s connectivity, to develop cleaner energy, to deepen our security partnership in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.” 

    Kerry, who on Thursday will co-chair the fifth U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, said the two countries “can, and should be, indispensable partners for the 21st century.”

    A catalyst for economic growth

    The top U.S. diplomat said the United States endorses India’s new plan, "Together with all, development for all." American private sector wants to be a catalyst for India’s economic revitalization, Kerry said.

    "American companies lead in exactly in the key sectors where India wants to grow in high-end manufacturing, in infrastructure and health care, information technology – all of them vital to sort of leapfrogging stages of development so you can provide more, faster, to more people."

    Kerry said Washington cannot direct U.S. companies to invest in India and urged New Delhi to open its economy even more to foreign investment.

    "If India’s government delivers on its plans to support greater space for private initiative, if it creates greater openness for capital flows, if it limits subsidies that stifle competition, if it provides strong intellectual property rights, believe me, even more American companies will come to India,” he said. “They may even race to India."

    The two countries should aim to boost bilateral trade from the current $100 billion to $500 billion, Kerry said. He also called for an Indo-Pacific trade corridor to put, in his words, "India at the heart of a more prosperous and connected Asian region."

    Urges easing trade restrictions

    But, Kerry also indirectly criticized India for opposing an international agreement on easing trade regulations. New Delhi says the effort to promote global trade should be linked to food security. The World Trade Organization’s deadline for reaching agreement on the Bali trade facilitation agreement is Thursday.

    Jonah Blank, a RAND Corp. South Asia analyst, said it would take many bilateral meetings to overcome a “legacy of distrust between the U.S. and India that has been in place for a number of years but has gotten a lot worst in the past eight or nine months."

    Cultural mistrust goes back to the Cold War and India’s leadership role in the non-aligned movement, Blank said. He noted that relations took a nosedive last December when India’s deputy consul general, Devyani Khobragade, was arrested and strip-searched in New York. She was indicted on charges of lying about a visa application and underpaying a domestic house worker. 

    However, Blank said Modi’s parliamentary majority gives him space to strike bold deals with countries such as the United States without having to worry about his coalition partners.  And, he said Kerry’s trip is showing New Delhi the respect it believes it deserves.

    New government, new opportunities

    Modi’s government is showing its willingness to open its market to outside investors, said Rajiv Biswas, chief economist for IHS Global Insight, an information company based in Colorado. He noted that its first budget lifted “the caps on investment in insurance and in defense up to 49 percent.  It still doesn’t allow majority ownership in those areas, but at least it’s a step in the right direction."

    Biswas said he expects India to liberalize the process by which foreign investments are approved. For foreign businesses, he said, India represents an enormous market potential, with current consumer spending of $1 trillion this year exploding to $4 trillion in 20 years.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.