Page 61 - IACC Newsletter March-April 2014 Issue 03

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or that of any other American, to tell India how to realize its full potential. That is for Indians to decide. Our concern is
simply that India does realize its full potential – for the United States has a stake in India’s success. Indeed, a strong,
confident, and future-oriented India is indispensible for a vibrant U.S.-India strategic partnership. “Here, too, it is also no
secret that India and the United States have not been reaching our full potential as strategic partners over the past few
years, and there is blame to be shared on both sides for that. Too often recently, we have slipped back into a
transactional relationship – one defined more by competitive concession-seeking than by achieving shared strategic
goals. We need to lift our sights again.
“To help us do so, I think we need to remind ourselves why the United States and India embarked on this partnership in
the first place. It was never simply about the personalities involved, though the personal commitment of leaders in both
countries has been indispensable at every turn. No, the real reason India and the United States have resolved to develop
a strategic partnership is because each country has determined, independently, that doing so is in its national interest.
“It is because we have been guided by our national interests that the progress of our partnership has consistently
enjoyed bipartisan support in the United States and in India. This endeavor began with closer cooperation between a
Democratic Administration in Washington and a BJP-led government in New Delhi. It deepened dramatically during the
last decade under a Republican Administration and a Congress-led government. It reached historic heights with the
conclusion of our civil nuclear agreement – thanks to the bold leadership of President Bush and Prime Minister Singh.
This foundation of shared national interests has sustained our partnership under President Obama. And it is the
common ground on which we can build for the future as a new Prime Minister takes office in New Delhi.
“When it comes to U.S. national interests, the logic of a strategic partnership with India is powerful: India will soon
become the world’s most populous nation. It has a young, increasingly skilled workforce that can lead India to become
one of the world’s largest economies. It is a nuclear power and possesses the world’s second-largest military, which is
becoming ever more capable and technologically sophisticated. It shares strategic interests with us on issues as diverse
and vital as defeating terrorism and extremism, strengthening a rules-based international order in Asia, securing global
energy supplies, and sustaining global economic growth.
“India and the United States not only share common interests. We also share common values: the values of human
rights, individual liberty, and democratic limits on state power, but also the values of our societies—creativity and
critical thinking, risk-taking and entrepreneurialism and social mobility – values that continue to deepen the
interdependence of our peoples across every field of human endeavor. It is because of these shared values that we are
confident that India’s continued rise as a democratic great power – whether tomorrow or 25 years from now – will be
peaceful, and thus can advance critical U.S. national interests. That is why, contrary to the old dictates of
, we
seek not to limit India’s rise, but to bolster and catalyze it – economically, geopolitically, and yes, militarily.
“It is my hope that Prime Minister Modi and his government will recognize how a deeper strategic partnership with the
United States serves India’s national interests, especially in light of current economic and geopolitical challenges. For
example, a top priority for India is the modernization of its armed forces. This is an area where U.S. defense capabilities,
technologies, and cooperation – especially between our defense industries—can benefit India enormously. Similarly,
greater bilateral trade and investment can be a key driver of economic growth in India, which seems to be what Indian
citizens want most from their new government. Likewise, as India seeks to further its ‘Look East’ policy and deepen its
relationships with major like-minded powers in Asia – especially Japan, but also Australia, the Philippines, the Republic
of Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam – those countries are often U.S. allies and partners as well, and our collective ability to
work in concert can only magnify India’s influence and advance its interests.
“Put simply, I see three strategic interests that India and the United States clearly share, and these should be the
priorities of a reinvigorated partnership:
“first, to shape the development of South Asia as a region of sovereign, democratic states that contribute to one
another’s security and prosperity;
“second, to create a preponderance of power in the Asia-Pacific region that favors free societies, free markets, free
trade, and free commons;