SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Please take a seat.

Prime Minister Modi, Evan and I are honored to welcome you to the State Department.  You’re here in the Benjamin Franklin Room, named after America’s very first diplomat.  He signed our first treaty.  He charted the Gulf Stream.  He helped pioneer electricity.  He gave us our ethos of self-governance, and virtually none of this did he do while sober.  (Laughter.)  But I don’t think that’s going to be an issue for us today.

To our extraordinary co-host, Vice President Harris, it is always special to have you here at the department.  And it’s always great to be joined by our Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff, and friends from across the administration and from the United States Congress.  And let me also acknowledge our James Beard-winning guest chef, Meherwan Irani, who is here with us today.  (Applause.)  And you should know that Meherwan credits his mother as his earliest culinary inspiration, and I think we’re all about to be very inspired by what she gave to him and he’s now about to give to us.

It’s been 30 years, Prime Minister, since you visited this country through a State Department exchange program.  You said that experience showed you, and I quote, “The dreams of the American people and the boldness of their ambitions.”  In your address to our Congress yesterday, you highlighted the boldness of India’s own ambitions, the remarkable advances that your country has made in recent years: expanding free medical care, empowering women, harnessing clean energy.  The positive impact in the lives of the Indian people is immeasurable, and it will be lasting.

And it underscores that these aspirations for a better future are ones that we share and ones that we depend upon each other to help realize.  That’s why when President Eisenhower became the first American president to visit India, he told your parliament that “the welfare of America is bound up with the welfare of India.”  Over the past several decades, the United States and India have been advancing the vision of greater interdependence, brought closer by administrations of different parties in both of our countries.  Having worked for President Biden for over 20 years, I know that his belief in this partnership is longstanding, and his commitment to delivering on its promise is unwavering.

And during the last two and a half years, we’ve transformed the relationship between our countries.  We are working closer together on more issues than ever before.  From semiconductors to space, from education to food security.  The energy, ambition, and potential of our cooperation is boundless.

The United States and India have become, as the prime minister has put it, indispensable partners.  And that partnership, President Biden has said, is the defining relationship of the 21st century.  Together we’re promoting greater peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe; combatting disease; responding to natural disasters; strengthening the maritime security; standing up for the principles at the heart of the United Nations Charter.

We’re working to safeguard our planet for future generations, developing affordable solar panels and sustainable aviation fuels.  We’re driving opportunity and innovation, from the entrepreneurs powering our economies to the U.S. companies investing in India and vice versa.  And the cutting edge research that we’re jointly advancing, from quantum to artificial intelligence, is helping to sustain our technological edge and shaping a digital future that safeguards democratic values.

Here in the United States, India is part of our daily lives.  We enjoy Jhumpa Lahiri’s novels over samosas.  (Laughter.)  We laugh at the comedies of Mindy Kaling.  We dance to the beats of Dhiljit at Coachella.  And yes, Mr. Prime Minister, and I can say this from personal experience, we keep ourselves more or less fit and healthy doing yoga.  (Laughter and applause.)

The United States is endlessly enriched by our thriving Indian diaspora.  Doctors, teachers, engineers, business leaders, public servants, almost all of whom, it seemed, were on the White House lawn yesterday to greet you.  (Laughter.)  And so many of whom are here with us today.  Leaders, of course, like Vice President Harris, whose mother came from – (applause) – Tamil Nadu, coming here to help unlock the secrets of cancer.  Or diplomats right here at the State Department, where a man whose father came to America with just a bus ticket and $14 in his pocket rose to become the first United States Indian American ambassador to India.  And today, Richard Rahul Verma serves as the deputy secretary of state for Management and Resources.  (Cheers and applause.)  The highest-ranking Indian American official in the department’s history.

And, Mr. Prime Minister, that ultimately is maybe the strongest bond that unites us.  As you glimpsed in your earliest travels here, whether we call it the American dream, whether we call it the Indian dream, whether it’s the son of an immigrant from Jalandhar rising through the State Department or a tea seller becoming prime minister, our people believe profoundly in opportunity, that no matter who we are or where we come from, we can make something more of ourselves.

So please join me in raising a glass to our shared hopes for the future and to the U.S.-India partnership that will help make those hopes a reality.  Cheers.

(Toast.)

And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to introduce to you the Vice President of the United States.  (Applause.)

(The Vice President makes remarks.)

(Toast.)

(Applause.)

PRIME MINISTER MODI:  (Via interpreter) Vice President Kamala Harris, Second Gentlemen Douglas Emhoff, Secretary of State and my friend Antony Blinken, White House Cabinet Secretary Evan Ryan, all distinguished guests and representatives, friends:  First and foremost, I would like to thank Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary Blinken for this grand welcome.  Thank you so much.  I am also truly grateful to you both for our warm and kind words.

Today, to be among all of you at the State Department once again is a matter of great pleasure for me.  In the last three days, I have taken part in several meetings and discussed numerous topics.  In all of these meetings, there was one thing that was common.  In all of these meetings, everyone was of the view that the friendship and cooperation between the people of India and America needs to become even deeper.  The sweet melody of the India-U.S. relations is composed of the notes of our people-to-people ties.  Examples of these relations can be seen at every step.

Vice President Kamala Harris’ mother, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan, came to America from India in 1958.  At that time, most people did not have phones and so her mother, she would send handwritten letters to her family back home.  And at any time she did not let her relation with India break.  She kept the relation alive with whatever ways and means she could find.  She made maximum use of it.  For India and her life in America, she kept them both linked.  Despite thousands of miles of physical distance, India always remained close to her heart.

And Madam, Madam Vice President, you – you have taken this inspiration today to newer heights.  Your achievements are an inspiration to not only the women in America but to women in India and women all across the world.  This is really inspiring.  (Applause.)

Secretary Blinken, when I, in the beginning, mentioned the words like music and notes, I actually had you in mind.  (Laughter.)  The entire world knows about your diplomatic skills and I now know it very well.  There is also a lot of buzz about your musical talent.  Even when covering thousands of miles of traveling dealing with the most serious of issues, you always find time for music.  This is extremely inspiring for all of us.  Your contribution in strengthening our strategic partnership has been incredible and I thank you for it.  Really, thank you, Secretary Blinken.  (Applause.)

Friends, during my visit in 2014, my dear friend President Biden was also here with me at the State Department.  At that time, he had referred to India-America partnership as a promise over the horizon.  In this period of nine years since then, we have been on a very long and beautiful journey.  We have added and expanded the scope of mutual cooperation in defense and strategic areas.  We are working with renewed trust in areas of new and emerging technologies.  We are resolving long-pending and difficult issues in trade.  (Applause.)  We are together in frameworks such – these new frameworks such as Quad and I2U2, and we have made a lot of progress in these.  Whether it is on ground or in the skies, in the deep seas or way up in space, India and America can be seen working together.

Indeed, in the true sense, the promise over the horizon today is not merely a promise but a reality, and neither is it far over the horizon.  Where we stand today, the achievements that we take pride in are all the result of your dreams and your tireless hard work.  I commend – I commend you all for it and I thank you for it, friends.

(In English) I would like to raise a toast to your good health and well-being, to our friendship, and to the peace and prosperity of all our citizens.  Thank you.

(Toast.)

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future