Kerry hails India-U.S. economic partnership, says trade has grown five folds

Washington D.C, Sept. 23 (ANI): Hailing the strong growth of economic partnership between the two nations, United States Secretary of State John Kerry has said the annual trade in goods and services between the US and India has grown nearly five folds since 2000 to just over $100 billion.

“We can increase that figure to more than $500 billion in the years immediately ahead. Bilateral foreign direct investment (FDI) stands today at more than $35 billion, which can go much higher. And, right now, our economic connection supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in each of our countries, but there are many more openings to explore,” Kerry said, while addressing a joint press conference, along with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, Indian Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, following the opening plenary of the Joint Strategic and Commercial Dialogue here.

Underlining the importance of maintaining a balance between growth and environment, Kerry said India and the US have made a good start but they have to do more, within and beyond their boundaries, to drive home the urgency of growing economically in ways that are green and clean.

“Today we have an agenda that includes building on the progress that we have already made in the field of sustainable energy, the environment – curbing greenhouse gas emissions – because unless our countries lead on these issues, meaningful gains will not happen,” said Kerry.

On the security front, said Kerry the collaboration between India and the US was growing in ways that would benefit both nations and their citizens. “We’re also working together in the Indian Ocean. Our joint naval exercise ‘MALABAR’ continues to grow in complexity and now includes Japan. We have agreed on a new 10-year defence framework and also on a shared strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean that stresses regional security, maritime law, peaceful resolution of disputes, and economic connectivity across the region,” he added.

The US is one of India’s largest defence suppliers, and we are partnering to develop and produce advanced defence systems, including through our aircraft carrier working group. Our annual Army-to-Army exercise, Yudh Abhyas, is underway in Washington state,” said Kerry.

He also lauded India’s “heroic” role in rescuing people, including Americans, who had been trapped by violence in Yemen, and also India’s timely and lifesaving response to the earthquake in Nepal.

“On health, India and the US are striving to end preventable maternal and child deaths in developing countries. Meanwhile, we are looking forward to launching a new discussion on oceans conservation and also building an important and far-reaching partnership in the crucial area of Internet governance,” he said.

India and the US had a lot of progress to show since the first edition of the dialogue in 2010 when it was a security dialogue, said Kerry, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be meeting President Barack Obama next week and that both nations would work to find ways to play to their strengths. (ANI)

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