SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, welcome to all of you who are joining us for this reception here at the State Department in the Ben Franklin Room. And it is a particular honor for us to welcome not only a great leader but someone who has a strong personal commitment to the U.S.-India relationship, President Barack Obama. (Applause.)
Mr. President, we’ve worked hard today and we’ve actually been working hard ever since this Strategic Dialogue was agreed to between you and Prime Minister Singh. Many of the people you see before you are the people who are actually doing the work that make Minister Krishna and I look like we’re fulfilling our responsibilities. (Laughter.)
But we so value this relationship. And I came across a quote which I think summarizes what we feel. Mark Twain once wrote, “India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition.” And I love the fact that it’s mothers that – (laughter).
Well, given the talent, the expertise, and the enthusiasm in this room, not only from our distinguished delegation from India and all of the people here in our Government who have worked so hard, but Indian-Americans who themselves embody the importance of this relationship. We are so excited as we broaden and deepen this extraordinary partnership. And now the real work begins. We’re turning our ideas and our aspirations into actions and results and working to unleash the tremendous potential that exists for even greater opportunity, prosperity, and peace for the people of India and of the United States and of the world.
Let me now introduce Minister Krishna, who has been a wonderful colleague and, ever since we announced this strategic dialogue during my visit last year, has been so supportive and enlisted the commitment of so many of the distinguished ministers and officials from the Government of India.
Please, join me in welcoming Minister Krishna. (Applause.)
MINISTER KRISHNA: Mr. President, last year you and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched a new phase in the India-U.S. global strategic partnership. I bring to you from Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who spoke with you last week. He has asked me to reiterate the importance he attaches to this Strategic Dialogue and his personal commitment to it as an instrument for strengthening of our bilateral cooperation. He recalls very warmly his meeting with you at the successful Nuclear Security Summit in April 2010. He and over one billion citizens of India look forward to welcoming you and your family later this year.
I am grateful for the warmth and gracious hospitality that has been extended by Secretary Clinton to me and to my colleagues and officers. Her commitment and involvement in working for a positive transformation of India-U.S. relations has been a key factor in the achievement of the global strategic partnership that we have established today.
Mr. President, we consider our mutually beneficial relationship with the United States to be one of our foremost foreign policy priorities. There are few relationships in the world that have so much potential as India-U.S. relations because I believe that our cooperation is not only for mutual benefit but is destined to have a strong impact on global peace, prosperity, and stability in the 21st century.
Mr. President, as India regains the momentum of her economic growth, new opportunities are emerging to empower rural communities, especially women. Time and again, we have seen in other developing countries – for example, in the pioneering efforts of Ann Soetoro, your late mother – Mr. President, to Indonesia, the transformational impact of innovation and microfinance, that is our hope for transforming our economy and society in an equitable, inclusive and sustainable manner.
My colleagues and I have had very productive meetings yesterday and today in our Strategic Dialogue. We reviewed progress in all areas of our ongoing cooperation and also focused on our vision and the roadmap for the future. We also discussed how we would work together to realize the immense potential of our cooperation across the spectrum of human endeavors, from strategic cooperation to sustainable growth and economic and developmental partnerships, to achieve real benefits for our peoples and for the world.
Mr. President, we are pleased that you, with your deep personal links with the Asia-Pacific region, are taking strong interest in the future of this rapidly evolving region. We look forward to a stable, secure, prosperous future for this region, defined by cooperation, openness, and inclusion. A peaceful and stable South Asia is critical for our development and security. We believe that India can be a dependable anchor of the region’s growth. We are supporting economic development and increasing trade and investment in several of our neighboring countries.
We remain committed to Afghanistan’s development and supporting the Afghan people in their efforts to build their capacity and assume the rightful responsibilities for governance, security, and development. With international support, they will succeed in their efforts. The United States have made great sacrifices in Afghanistan and invested in – heavily in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These are no ordinary commitments for the American people as they promote the cause of peace and resist the evils of terrorism.
My prime minister has consistently believed in the need for dialogue to seek a future of peace and cooperation with Pakistan. I will meet the foreign minister of Pakistan in Islamabad in the month of July. The trust deficit in relations between India and Pakistan needs to be specifically addressed. The continuing threat of terrorism is a cause of great concern for us in India.
Mr. President, our agenda is rich and extensive. I thank you once again for your belief in and commitment to this relationship, and look forward to your visit to India, where a very warm and heartfelt welcome awaits you and the family. Thank you so much, Mr. President. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Mr. President, we love having you come to the State Department. And have this chance to see all of these people who have worked so hard on these people who have worked so hard on this Dialogue is for us a very great honor. And we thank you for your personal commitment, as Minister Krishna outlined, to broadening and deepening this critical relationship between India and the United States.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the President of the United States.
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