Deputy Secretary Sherman: Good afternoon, Mr. Foreign Secretary. It is such a pleasure to see you and not just hear you on the telephone and to be here in India. We’ve worked together for many years, and I want to begin by thanking you for your hospitality, and for your friendship.
I’m looking forward to our discussions today and also joining you this evening for the Ideas Summit. The partnership between the United States and India is rooted in our shared values. We are both thriving and diverse democracies. We are both home to great innovators and entrepreneurs. We are both believers in a free, open, interconnected, and resilient Indo-Pacific region and we both know that the best way to preserve peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and around the world is by upholding and strengthening the rules-based international order that helps people everywhere thrive.
As Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to Washington and the Quad Leaders’ Summit that took place just over a week ago demonstrated ours is an indispensable partnership. There is no challenge that the United States and India cannot overcome when we work together.
I quickly want to mention three of the many topics that I expect my friend the Foreign Secretary and I will cover today.
First, we are still facing a pandemic that has sickened and killed tens of thousands of our people and which continues to harm people around the world. We applaud India’s announcement that you will resume vaccine exports as you can. As the world’s largest vaccine producer, India is a crucial leader in the fight against COVID 19. We look forward to working together with India to vaccinate the world, including through the Quad Vaccine Partnership, and working together for an economic recovery that looks to the future.
Second, we cannot lose sight of the other crisis on our hand and that is the climate crisis which is already yielding deeper droughts, more intense storms and rising sea levels in India and in the United States. We are proud to work with India through the Agenda 2030 Partnership which President Biden and Prime Minister Modi announced earlier this year to support your ambitious goal of having 450 gigawatts of renewables installed by 2030.
Third, India and the United States are Major Defense Partners, and our security relationship is essential to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and indeed around the world. We have concluded four major defense enabling agreements in recent years and are looking forward to deepening our security relationship across multiple dimensions, including through maritime cooperation.
And we remain engaged with each other on Afghanistan and counterterrorism as well. Our two countries will meet soon for a counterterrorism joint working group and a homeland security dialogue to expand our cooperation in these areas.
I know my friend the Foreign Secretary and I will discuss these issues and more today and that these conversations will continue when Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, Minister Jaishankar and Minister Singh meet for the 2+2 Ministerial later this year.
So before we begin our formal meeting, I want to thank my good friend again for being so generous and hosting me and my colleagues today. We look forward to continuing the deep and wide-ranging cooperation and partnership between the United States and India.