Page 67 - IACC Newsletter August-September 2013 Issue 13

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I want to thank our chef, Vikram Sunderam, who is responsible for this wonderful meal we’re going to have here today.
And we are happy to acknowledge his tremendous success at Rasika, which is one of our terrific restaurants here in
Washington, one example of how Indian- Americans are not just living the American dream, but they’re redefining it on
a daily basis. And we’re privileged also to have musicians here this afternoon from the United States Army and United
States Navy bands. And it’s always an honor for all of us to hear you play, and everybody here joins us in thanking you
for your service. We are deeply appreciative. (Applause.)
Mr. Prime Minister, I’m forced to admit that no matter how warm our welcome here today, we’re never going to be able
to top your rock star reception at Madison Square Garden. (Laughter and applause.) Billy Joel called me this morning to
make sure you hadn’t taken his regular gig there. (Laughter.) None of us have been able to turn on a television or pick up
a newspaper without seeing the celebrity coverage that the Prime Minister has received. And with it, for all of us, there’s
a sense of shared excitement and a sense of shared possibility.
I’ve been Secretary of State now going on two years, and I was on the Foreign Relations Committee for nearly 30 years,
so I’ve seen, as the Vice President has – we’ve both sort of lived through the ups and downs of this relationship. And
people talk about the United States and India perhaps the way that a matchmaker talks about two friends that they
want to get together. And you sort of have that, “Oh, you have so much in common. If only you’d spend more time
together.” (Laughter.)
But what’s very clear about this visit at this moment is that people are watching to wait and see if this Modi moment is
going to be the moment when the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy finally capitalize on the
full, inherent potential of this relationship. And it does, in fact, seem so natural. The United States and India are two
countries defined by the belief that all things are possible.
President Obama often says that, for him, only in America would his journey be possible. And Prime Minister Modi’s
journey from a young man who sold tea by the railroad in Gujarat to the Prime Minister’s residence on Race Course
Road seems no less improbable. (Applause.)
This belief in opportunity, even against long odds, is really unique to our two countries. We are two countries who begin
our founding documents with the same words, the same three words: “We the people.” We’re two countries where
entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation is in both of our DNA. The only two countries that could have given birth to
Hollywood and Bollywood – (laughter) – the only two countries where high-tech hubs like Bangalore and Silicon Valley
could blossom and be connected, even as they are independent in their creativity. We are two countries that, as Swami
Vivekananda said in Chicago more than a century ago, have sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions
and all nations on Earth.
In the last years, I have been pleased and privileged to see our relationship come a long way. It has been a long journey
from the mistrust and misperception of the Cold War period and even the post-Cold War period and President Clinton’s
efforts to forge a new relationship. And those efforts have continued under administrations Democratic and Republican,
alike.
The question today is whether we are going to at last take this partnership to the new heights that we can both envision.
And we’re already working together in a crucial number of efforts. Already today our two navies are safeguarding vital
trade routes off the Horn of Africa. Today, our engineers are retrofitting telecom networks to run on solar power
together. Our scientists are developing new drugs to treat malaria. Our businesses are trading more together – a fivefold
increase since the year 2000.
But the question is what this relationship looks like tomorrow. The promise of Prime Minister Modi’s visit is really quite
simple. This is one of those hinge points in history. Perhaps for the first time the United States and India don’t just share
the same founding ideals, but we share the same economic and political imperatives. We both need and want clean air.
And we both need good jobs. We both need to trade in new markets. We both need more investment. We both need
higher education systems that work for the next generation. And we both need to keep our people safe from the
scourge of violent extremism.