India-U.S. Trade Development to Focus on Technology & Energy
May. 3 – Nirupama Rao, the Indian Ambassador to the United States, has said that while cooperation on bilateral issues between India and the United States (U.S.) remains on track, aspects such as technology and energy have become a focal point of the ties between the two countries.
“Technology is very much a driver in this relationship, especially high technology. I’m talking of strategic trade, trade concerning such areas as civil aviation, biotechnology, space sciences, nanotechnology,” Madame Rao said. “And all this I would argue should, if I have a wish list for the future, become infused with much greater dynamism than they have been in past. So we have to focus our efforts and intensify the work we need to do in these areas.”
Madame Rao was speaking at an event organized by the Heritage Foundation, which today released its report on the India-US relationship. The report, which was published jointly in association with the prominent Indian think-tank the Observer Foundation, includes suggestions on how to carefully deepen the partnership between the U.S. and India over the next few years.
In regards to energy, Madame Rao hoped that the U.S. Department of Energy will make its decision on many of the pending requests for the export of shale gas to India.
“There is a lot that we can do, we are doing and must do for the future in renewable energy cooperation, including solar and wind energy, and also on availability of clean sources of energy, especially when we talk of climate change and we talk of how we should address the challenge of climate change and how we build a sustainable development model that can incorporate our concerns about these issues,” she said. “We obviously cannot afford to lose sight of the fundamental reasons that have led to the transformation of the ties between India and the U.S., our converging security and economic interests, the vibrant ties between our peoples.”
She further added that the two nations need greater collaborative efforts in innovation when it comes to trade and economic partnerships, and greater bilateral private sector engagement in the manufacturing, services and energy sectors. She also mentioned the contribution of the three million strong Indian diaspora in the U.S. and the building of a strong friendship between the two nations.
“There are mutually beneficial connections between our entrepreneurs. Think of all the Indian companies that do business here and create jobs in this country, and likewise, the U.S. companies that have done business in India for many, many years now,” Rao said.
The high-level engagement between the two countries is set to gather steam in the next few months through a series of scheduled dialogues and bilateral visits, including that of cabinet rank officials. The peak of this exchange will be the visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to India in June for the India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue. This will be followed by Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde leading a high-level Indian delegation to Washington DC for the annual Homeland Security Dialogue.
In addition, Indian Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal is scheduled to visit the U.S. later this month for talks with his American counterparts and leaders in the education sector. Several Indian cabinet ministers are also expected to visit Washington for the annual summit of the US-India Business Council on July 11.
Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram, during his meeting with the Treasury Secretary Jack Lew earlier this month, suggested that the next round of the India-U.S. Economic Dialogue should be held along with the India-U.S. CEO Forum, which is scheduled for July 10-11. The Treasury is looking at the dates, but has yet to confirm anything.
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