Obama's India Visit Showcased New Partnership
By Stephen Kaufman
Washington - President Obama's visit to India can be seen as the beginning of a new relationship between the United States and India as global strategic partners, working together in areas such as development, food security, nuclear energy and the environment in ways that can benefit other areas of the world, U.S. officials said November 16.
Speaking at the Washington Foreign Press Center, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake said there is "very important value" in having two of the world's largest democracies and largest market-based economies working in partnership. He said the collaboration "will grow over time because of these shared interests and shared values."
President Obama's November 6-9 visit to Mumbai and New Delhi and his meetings with Indian leaders helped expand and strengthen the strategic partnership and affirmed that it is "indispensable ... for the 21st century," Blake said.
"People will look back, I think, on this visit and will say that ... this visit really marked the concrete beginning of this global cooperation," he said.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah said a basic theme of Obama's visit was to recognize that India has emerged as a global power and "has responsibilities and opportunities to tackle tough global problems around the world."
"This is now a partnership with two countries standing together as peers capable of addressing the challenges that the world faces these days," Shah said.
Shah said the United States and India are exploring ways to cooperate on technology to create solutions that "apply all around the world."
For example, Indian innovators adapted a U.S.-made solar panel to create solar-powered micro-irrigation systems that can be used to boost agriculture throughout rural India.
"Now we're working with those partners to take those systems to Africa as well, where food security remains a tremendous concern, and this could be ... the big part of the solution. So the first thing is this shift to real technical cooperation and, instead of thinking of it as a traditional development partnership, looking at how we can work together to solve global problems," Shah said.
The Partnership for an Evergreen Revolution that Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced November 8 marks "a major new step forward in our relationship" that Shah said could benefit "tens of millions of farm households." Under the partnership, the United States and India will collaborate to improve weather forecasting to help manage the risks of weather-related crop losses, improve food processing and ways to get farm products to markets, reduce barriers to agricultural trade and investment, and work together to improve food security in Africa.
"We're going to showcase this new way of working where we bring so much of the innovation that exists in so many different parts of India to other parts of the world that could benefit from having that kind of greater Indian engagement," Shah said. "That's why the president and the prime minister both made significant reference to this effort, because it really embodies a new way of working together."
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. )