U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and External Affairs Minister of India Shri Salman Khurshid met in New Delhi and co-chaired the fourth U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue on June 24. During their first meeting, they reviewed the extensive transformation of the bilateral relationship and identified key sectors of cooperation that will continue to add strategic depth to the partnership.
Secretary Kerry was accompanied at the Strategic Dialogue by Ambassador Nancy Powell, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Admiral Samuel Locklear of the U.S. Pacific Command, Director John Holdren of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, National Aeronautics and Space Administrator Charles Bolden, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, U.S. Trade & Development Agency Director Leocadia Zak, and senior officials from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and Overseas Private Investment Corporation. External Affairs Minister Khurshid was joined by Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia; Adviser to the Prime Minister on Public Information, Infrastructure and Innovation Sam Pitroda; Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai; Home Secretary R.K. Singh; Secretary, Department of Science & Technology T. Ramasami; Secretary, Department of Space, Dr. K. Radhakrishnan; Secretary, Department of Higher Education Ashok Thakur and Ambassador Nirupama Rao.
Regional Strategic Consultations
Reaffirming their shared vision for peace and stability in Asia and in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the United States and India underscored their continued support for enhancing regional connectivity, as well as for the continued intensification of U.S.-India engagement through existing regional dialogue mechanisms, including the East Asia Summit process, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus. The two sides expressed their commitment to continue to consult closely on issues relating to the region both bilaterally and trilaterally, including in the U.S.-India-Japan format, which has had four successful meetings.
The United States and India reaffirmed the importance of maritime security, unimpeded commerce and freedom of navigation, and the peaceful resolution of maritime disputes in accordance with international law. India welcomed the entry of the United States to the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) as a Dialogue Partner in November 2012, and the United States welcomed India’s Observer status to the Arctic Council in May 2013.
Minister Khurshid and Secretary Kerry called for sustained commitment and support of the international community for a stable, democratic, united, sovereign, and prosperous Afghanistan. The United States and India each reiterated their enduring commitments to support the Afghan Government and all people of Afghanistan through the transition process and beyond, in accordance with their respective Strategic Partnership Agreements. The two leaders emphasized the importance of ensuring that the international community continues to support free, fair, transparent, and inclusive Presidential and Provincial Council elections in Afghanistan in 2014. They emphasized the need for continued efforts to enhance the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces and sustain the socio-economic development of Afghanistan.
The leaders acknowledged that success in Afghanistan requires, in addition to building up Afghanistan’s capacity to defend itself, an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process. They agreed that the process should preserve the historic political, economic, and social progress made over the past decade.
The two leaders also reiterated the importance of taking concrete steps to promote expanded private investment and trade in Afghanistan.
Security and Strategic Partnership
The two co-chairs recognized that defense, counterterrorism, and science and technology have become important aspects of the relationship. They welcomed the fact that defense trade had reached nearly $9 billion, and that U.S. and Indian military forces were continuing their professional exchanges, including through regular military training exercises, like the Army series YUDH ABHYAS, which took place in May, and the naval series MALABAR, planned for later this year. They welcomed the delivery of the first P-8I Poseidon for the Indian Navy in May and the first C-17 Globemaster III for the Indian Air Force in June. Secretary Kerry and Minister Khurshid also acknowledged the efforts that the United States and India are making to transform defense ties beyond buyer-seller relationships and to pursue opportunities for technological cooperation for co-development and co-production of defense equipment.
Recognizing the shared challenges that democratic societies, such as the United States and India face from terrorist groups, as well as the grave dangers posed by violent extremism, Secretary Kerry and Minister Khurshid welcomed the convening of the second Homeland Security Dialogue in Washington in May 2013. They reiterated the importance of closer cooperation and development of more intensive partnerships between the two countries in megacity policing, cyber security, global supply chain, and transportation security, combating counterfeit currency and illicit financial flows, training of law enforcement agencies, and identifying products and technologies that support law enforcement. They also stressed the need for concerted efforts to address the challenge of terrorism in the region, including the dismantling of terrorist safe havens and disrupting all financial and tactical support for terrorism, and through strengthened cooperation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum. The two leaders reiterated their commitment to continue their cooperation on the Mumbai terror attack in November 2008, including through continued exchanges of information between designated agencies to aid investigations and trials relating to that attack.
Secretary Kerry and Minister Khurshid emphasized the need for the United States and India to develop stronger partnerships on cyber-security, including through the next iterations of the Cyber Security Consultations, the Strategic Cyber Policy Dialogue, and the Information and Communications Technology Working Group. Secretary Kerry and Minister Khurshid reaffirmed the intent of U.S. and Indian law enforcement agencies to develop closer partnerships critical to the shared objectives of countering transnational crime and terrorist threats that impact both countries. To that end, both leaders welcomed the enhancement of existing dialogues to a formal U.S.-India Working Group on mutual legal assistance and extradition, acknowledging the importance of continuing to find effective and efficient mechanisms to cooperate on our shared commitment in law enforcement.
Secretary Kerry and Minister Khurshid recognized the very successful partnership being built, through the Strategic Security Dialogue, on issues related to nonproliferation and international security. They reviewed the close cooperation of the United States and India to realize India’s intention of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group. Secretary Kerry reaffirmed the United States support for India’s full membership in these groups. The United States also welcomed India’s March 2013 update to the special chemicals, organisms, materials, equipment, and technology (SCOMET) list.
Strategic Partnership in Commerce, S&T, Education, and Energy
Growing trade and investment continue to drive the U.S.-India partnership forward, and bilateral trade in goods and services has reached close to $100 billion. The two sides welcomed the adoption of new regulations regarding foreign investment ceilings in several sectors of the Indian economy, and the creation of new Cabinet-level mechanisms to expedite investment in India’s infrastructure. The co-chairs supported increased investment in mutually rewarding opportunities in their vast and growing markets. The two sides will resume negotiations to conclude a Bilateral Investment Treaty/Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement as soon as India’s revised model BIPPA text is ready.
Both governments reiterated their commitment to facilitating greater two-way trade and investment, including with respect to goods, services, and skilled professionals. Both governments also reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the innovation climate in each country as a means of promoting economic growth and other legitimate domestic and trade policy objectives. Noting the importance of technology to both economies, the United States and India discussed their cooperation under the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Working Group and reaffirmed plans for a follow on ICT Working Group Meeting in Washington this year. Both sides plan to discuss best practices and cooperation in ICT manufacturing and testing, cloud computing, research & development in ICT, and other related areas. To take advantage of the benefits of cyberspace and to manage the increasing threats, both also agreed on the importance of deepening high-level discussions and cooperation on cybersecurity and Internet governance through various mechanisms, including the Cybersecurity Consultations and the Strategic Cyber Policy Dialogue.
The two sides welcomed the increased cooperation and communication between U.S. antitrust agencies and Indian competition agencies that help ensure markets are open and competitive. In September 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission and the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Competition Commission of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Antitrust Cooperation to promote technical cooperation and consultations on matters of competition policy and enforcement.
Secretary Kerry and Minister Khurshid welcomed the continuation of discussions under the Commercial Dialogue on standards cooperation and the expected launch of discussions on sustainable manufacturing. Minister Khurshid reiterated India’s willingness to host the next meeting of the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) in India on mutually convenient dates and have a comprehensive engagement on the full range of issues under the TPF.
The two leaders recognized that the United States and India enjoy ever expanding bilateral cooperation in our science and technology relationship. Together, the United States and India are using science and technology to tackle global cross-cutting issues such as climate change, disease mitigation, water resources, and clean energy. Both countries facilitate leading edge research and are building public-private partnerships that support technology-based innovation and entrepreneurship. The United States and India look forward to the next Joint Commission Meeting in 2014 to plan, coordinate, and provide strategic guidance to help advance our mutual science and technology endeavors.
The two delegations discussed the critical importance of energy to sustaining economic growth and securing prosperity, and acknowledged the robust and full range of cooperation under the U.S.-India Energy Dialogue, co-chaired by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Deputy Chairman of India’s Planning Commission. The United States and India plan to continue their ongoing efforts to expand partnerships in clean energy and energy efficiency through the U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) and under the multilateral Clean Energy Ministerial. Since 2009, PACE – Deployment has mobilized approximately $2 billion in clean energy financing to India and PACE – Research has created innovative public-private consortia through the $125 million Joint Clean Energy Research & Development Centre. They noted the decision taken to create a new Sustainable Growth Working Group under the U.S.-India Energy Dialogue, and the growth of U.S. investment in India’s energy sector. The United States and India welcomed additional efforts aimed at financing clean energy investments, promoting the development of smart grid technologies, energy efficient buildings, solar power, smart and efficient air conditioning and space cooling, and expanding off-grid access to clean energy.
The two sides noted the ongoing commercial discussions between NPCIL and Westinghouse towards setting up a nuclear power plant at Mithivirdi in Gujarat. They encouraged the two companies to expedite these consultations. They also took note of the ongoing consultations between General Electric-Hitachi and NPCIL on setting up a nuclear power plant in Andhra Pradesh. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the full and timely implementation of the U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement.
The Minister and Secretary reviewed the good progress on cooperation between the United States and India on particle physics and expressed the desire to finalize an agreement by the end of this summer. They also committed to encouraging the conclusion of talks between the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Indian Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) on a bilateral information exchange arrangement, by fall 2013. The two sides also praised collaborative research and development under the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Energy Working Group, which will meet in Mumbai in July 2013 to discuss advancing cooperation in accelerator technology and other nuclear physics research projects.
The Secretary and the Minister welcomed the expanded work plan endorsed by the U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group in a number of areas, including measures that will improve the use of earth observation data to promote sustainable development and the compatibility-interoperability between the U.S. Global Positioning System and the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. They applauded agreement by the Indian Space Research Organization and the U.S. National Aeronautic and Space Agency to explore further cooperative space exploration work, including future missions to the moon and Mars. They welcomed the announcement of NASA support through its Deep Space Network facilities to ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission, and the ISRO-NASA technical discussions to integrate a U.S. L-band and Indian S-band synthetic aperture radar on an Indian spacecraft for earth observation studies. Both sides intend to cooperate bilaterally and in multilateral forums to promote efforts to ensure the long term sustainability of outer space. To this end, both sides plan to undertake discussions on areas of mutual interest such as space situational awareness, and collision avoidance as part of a Space Security Dialogue.
Secretary Kerry and Minister Khurshid welcomed the Higher Education Dialogue to be held on June 25, 2013. They reiterated their commitment to the Fulbright-Nehru Program for students and scholar exchange, and lauded the colleges and universities selected to receive funding under the second round of awards of the Obama-Singh Knowledge Initiative, for which the two governments committed in 2009 to provide $5 million each, over five years. The leaders also lauded initiatives such as the Raman Fellowships for placements of young faculty and researchers in U.S. universities under which a first batch of 126 fellows are scheduled to join U.S. institutions in the current academic session; the ‘In Step’ initiative for training of in-service teachers; and collaborations in technology-enabled learning, including Massive Open Online Courses.
They underlined the importance of developing further partnerships between U.S. and Indian educational institutions, and developing India’s vocational training sector through collaboration with U.S. educational institutions. The two leaders welcomed the initiative to establish community colleges in India. In this context, the Secretary and the Minister welcomed the decision to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding between the All India Council for Technical Education and the American Association of Community Colleges, as well as additional institution-to-institution agreements to be signed on the margins of the Higher Education Dialogue.
To enhance people-to-people connectivity, the two leaders also welcomed the creation of new student programs, such as India’s “Connect India” program and the U.S. “Passport to India” initiative. They noted the importance of education as a pillar of the strategic relationship, which not only enhances people-to-people connectivity, but also bolsters Indian institutional capacity to realize the demographic dividend promised by the significant increase of young people in India’s population. Cooperation in education supports economic growth in both countries and fosters the innovation and entrepreneurship both nations need to advance together in the 21st century.
The two leaders welcomed the rich mix of public and private science and technology cooperation between U.S. and Indian institutions and partners and underscored the importance of science, technology, and innovation to the well-being and economic growth of our countries. They applauded the announcement of awards from the Millennium Alliance and the Science and Technology Endowment Board celebrating the joint collaborative and innovative spirit between our scientists and technologists. The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to future collaborations in a wide range of disciplines from physics and state-of-the-art telescopes, to increasing the role of women in science and technology, advancing health research by continuing their successes in understanding diabetes, and working towards development of a new rotavirus vaccine. The Indian side underlined its interest to deepen cooperation with the United States in monsoon studies and in developing an Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.
Secretary Kerry and Minister Khurshid lauded the expansion of the successive rounds of the Strategic Dialogue to encompass a truly global strategic partnership. The co-chairs expressed appreciation for the success of the two countries in leveraging their respective areas of comparative advantage to jointly assist other partner countries across the globe.
Secretary Kerry and Minister Khurshid welcomed the ongoing trilateral cooperation in establishing Open Government Platforms in Ghana and Rwanda, eliminating preventable child deaths, and strengthening agriculture management and extension to expand food security among important African partners, such as Kenya, Liberia, and Malawi, while also cooperating to empower women economically in Afghanistan. The two sides also welcomed the continuing bilateral consultations on peacekeeping and recognized the need to expand this senior official dialogue to cover the range of issues in the United Nations.
The two sides welcomed the decisions taken at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties held in Doha. They resolved to carry out the Durban Platform, including by developing a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties. They stressed the need for meaningful implementation of the mechanisms set up under the UNFCCC process. Additionally, the two sides agreed to enhance the existing U.S.-India Global Climate Change Dialogue, and identify opportunities for further and significant bilateral cooperation.
Welcoming the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012, the two sides reaffirmed that eradication of poverty is at the heart of the global sustainable development agenda.
The two sides welcomed continuing engagement on women’s empowerment and the four meetings that have been held since the establishment of the U.S.-India Women’s Empowerment Dialogue in 2009. The Secretary and the Minister welcomed the opportunity to further cement U.S.-India cooperation in these existing areas and explore additional areas of mutual interest, including in the fields of clean energy and women in science, technology, and engineering.
The two leaders endorsed the detailed sectoral fact sheets outlining progress achieved in a range of areas since the previous Dialogue in Washington in June 2012, and encouraged Departments and Ministries on both sides to continue to design and implement ambitious plans to further the partnership.
The two co-chairs expressed satisfaction at the consistent progress being made in the annual Strategic Dialogues towards deepening the U.S.-India partnership. Secretary Kerry thanked Minister Khurshid for hosting the fourth round in New Delhi.
The next round of the Strategic Dialogue will be convened in the United States in 2014, on mutually convenient dates.