The month ahead is going to be intense for the United States-India relations as the two countries inaugurate strategic and commercial dialogue in September in Washington during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second visit to the U.S. since becoming India’s Prime Minister last year, Nisha Desai Biswal, assistant secretary of state for south and central Asian Affairs, said in New York last week.
Biswal spoke on August 4th at the Indian Consulate in New York as part of the series of monthly Media- India lecture. The topic was “Vision of India-U.S. Relations in the coming years and its strategic significance in the global context”. She covered a range of subjects starting from economic relations to strategic aspects of bilateral partnership, the strong political relations, frequent visits at ministerial level and the role played by Diaspora.
The lecture was followed by Q & A session moderated by Consul General, Ambassador Dnyaneshwar M Mulay. The event was attended by a large number of people representing diverse backgrounds.
“We are very much looking forward to Prime Minister Modi’s return visit to New York” as well his visit to Silicon Valley,” Biswal said. She said that California is abuzz with anticipation and excitement over the tremendous opportunity Modi’s visit to the state brings.
Biswal visited California late last month to meet with IT entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley apparently to prepare ground for the upcoming visit of the Prime Minister, the second only by an Indian Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1949.
She said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker “are very much looking forward” to hosting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the whole Indian delegation this fall. She said that work is already underway to make the visit an increasingly “significant and consequential” engagement between the two countries.
She said that during her visit to Silicon Valley, she noticed that entrepreneurs, scientists and investors are very focused on how to find new paths to partnership between the two countries are looking at new technologies that will power solution to the big challenges. “India is a development laboratory for very cutting edge new ways of tackling old challenges,” news reports quoted her as saying.
Biswal said bilateral trade has tripled in the past decade from $36 billion in 2005 to over $100 billion in 2014-15, setting the leaders of the U.S. and India on a more ambitious trajectory, calling for a quadrupling to 500 billion dollars in two-way trade in future. “We are ambitious, but we are bullish that that the ambition is going to be realized,” she said, implying that while $500 billion in two-way trade may be a pretty high target to be achieved, the U.S. is hopeful that it can be realized.