Zee Media Bureau/Hemant Abhishek
Washington: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama met on Friday and discussed among other things the first commercial agreement on civilian nuclear power between the two countries.
US President and First Lady Michelle Obama also hosted PM and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, and the White House released a statement underscoring the close ties between the US and India.
The document underpins the shared democratic values that have strengthened and enriched both the nations.
Here are the salient points that the document stressed on:
Advancing Defense and Security Cooperation
Defense Cooperation: The US-India defense relationship remains a major pillar of the strategic partnership between our two countries. Defense trade has reached nearly $9 billion, and both governments are committed to reduce impediments, ease commercial transactions, and pursue co-production and co-development opportunities to expand this relationship.
Defense Trade: US-sourced defense articles have enhanced the capabilities of the Indian armed forces, demonstrated by the use of C-130J and C-17 transport aircraft to support flood relief operations and t Indian peacekeeping operations. India is also the first nation to deploy the P8-I Poseidon, a state of the art maritime surveillance aircraft. U.S. companies look forward to concluding additional transactions to bring new capabilities to India’s services in the near future.
Joint Military Training: U.S. and Indian services participate in a range of bilateral exercises, including: MALABAR, YUDH ABHYAS, and RED FLAG. India accepted an invitation to participate in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) in Hawaii, a multilateral exercise that is expected to involve nearly two dozen nations.
Peacekeeping Cooperation: The United States and India discussed joint principles for bilateral cooperation on training peacekeepers and plan to conclude a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute and the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping India. For six decades, India has been among the largest troop contributors to peacekeeping missions around the globe, and the United States remains the largest financial supporter of U.N. peacekeeping.
Non-Proliferation Cooperation: The United States and India work closely on global non-proliferation and arms control. The United States continues to support India’s full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes – Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement, and Australia Group, in a phased manner, and welcomed India’s March 2013 update to its Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment, and Technology (SCOMET) list.
Nuclear Security: The United States and India collaborate on nuclear security issues and look forward to working together in the lead up to the next Nuclear Security Summit to be held in The Hague in March 2014.
Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program: The United States has offered to open a dialogue with the Government of India to make the trusted traveler program, Global Entry, available to Indian citizens. The program enables expedited entry to frequent travelers to significantly reduce wait times for individual travelers. The United States has Global Entry partnerships in place with a very limited number of countries.
Indo-U.S. Policing Conference: The United States and India are jointly organizing the first India-U.S. policing conference in New Delhi, December 10-11, 2013. The conference will bring together U.S. and Indian police chiefs, federal, state, and local officials, and private sector representatives and offers an opportunity to exchange information on homeland security and law enforcement technologies.
Global Health Security: The United States and India place a priority on preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats. Both countries recognize the importance of strengthening and exercising the global capacity to counter biological threats required to achieve the core competencies of the World Health Organization International Health Regulations.
Fostering Bilateral Trade and Investment
Trade: U.S.-India bilateral trade in goods and services grew from $59.9 billion to $92.5 billion between 2009 and2012, despite a challenging global economy. Both countries are committed to expanding this relationship and removing obstacles to growth, including through expert level discussions in the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) and other bilateral dialogues, with plans for a TPF Ministerial in the year ahead. TPF meetings allow for discussion of trade and investment challenges, including localization measures, regulatory barriers, and protection of intellectual property rights.
Investment: India is one of the fastest growing sources of investment into the United States. Indian foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States increased from $227 million in 2002 to almost $5.2 billion in 2012, supporting thousands of U.S. jobs. Meanwhile, U.S. investment in India reached more than $28 billion in 2012. On October 31, 2013, Indian companies will participate in the first global SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington to foster investment and partnerships between Indian businesses and U.S. state and local governments.
Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue: Continuing the close cooperation between the U.S. Department of Treasury and India’s Ministry of Finance, the 4th U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership Ministerial will be held in Washington D.C. on October 13, 2013. The dialogue, planned to include the Governors of our respective central banks, will include discussions on macroeconomic and financial developments, including cooperation on anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terror, focusing on policies to strengthen each of our economies.
Commercial Dialogue: The U.S. Department of Commerce and Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry led a public-private discussion on September 24 on manufacturing and supply chain sustainability to conserve food, energy, and natural resources.
Civil Aviation Cooperation: The U. S. Trade and Development Agency, with other U.S. agencies, sponsoring the U.S.-India Aviation Summit, October 29-31, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The summit intends to focus on new air traffic management technologies, aircraft environmental issues, and expanding aviation infrastructure. The Indian civil aviation market is expected to be the world’s third largest by 2020, surpassing 450 million domestic passengers.
Manufacturing: To facilitate closer cooperation on strengthening the manufacturing sector in both countries and eliminating barriers that dampen investor confidence, the United States has proposed the creation of a Joint Committee on Investment in Manufacturing.
High Technology: Since the Department of Commerce launched the High Technology Cooperation Group in 2002, U.S. strategic trade exports have increased significantly, exceeding $5.8 billion in 2012. Only 0.02 percent of U.S. exports to India require a license today, compared with 24 percent in 1999.
Cooperating on Clean Energy, Energy Access, and Climate Change
Civil Nuclear Cooperation: The Westinghouse Electric Company and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Ltd., signed a preliminary commercial contract under the auspices of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Initiative. This agreement should facilitate progress toward licensing the AP-1000 nuclear reactor technology in India. The Indian government is planning to develop commercial nuclear power sites in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh using U.S. nuclear technology. Both governments also decided to complete discussions on the Administrative Arrangements at an early date.
Nuclear Safety: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Indian Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) intend to sign a memorandum of understanding for the exchange of technical information in nuclear safety matters. This arrangement should solidify close cooperation between the regulators.
Off-Grid Clean Energy: India and the United States launched a new initiative – Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) – focused on/aimed at harnessing commercial enterprise to bring clean energy to those currently under-served by the electricity grid. Initial PEACE activities are planned to include a new off-grid clean energy alliance and a “PACEsetter Fund” for supporting early-stage projects. In addition, the Export-Import Bank of the United States is exploring options to mobilize up to $250 million in financing to support off-grid solar and other clean energy projects. PEACE is intended to be a new track under the U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE). Since PACE’s inception in 2009, roughly $2 billion in public and private resources have been mobilized for clean energy projects in India.
Climate Change Working Group: Recognizing that climate change is a defining challenge of our time and that there are mutual benefits to intensifying cooperation, the U.S. and India created a Climate Change Working Group to advance action-oriented cooperation as well as to enhance dialogue, including helping reach an ambitious multilateral climate agreement in 2015. The Working Group plans to promote existing and new cooperation on clean energy, smart grid, and energy efficiency; adaptation and resiliency to climate change; and sustainable forestry and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).
Space Cooling Efficiency Collaboration: Demand for space cooling – primarily for air conditioners – constitutes a large portion of peak electricity demand in India. Air conditioners could add as much as 140 GW to peak load by 2030 and management of the peak contribution is critical for maintaining supply security and avoiding load shedding. The new U.S.-India Collaboration on Smart and Efficient Air Conditioning and Space Cooling is intended to advance policies and innovation to drive mass deployment and rapid uptake of high-efficiency cooling equipment and technologies to capture significant energy savings, potentially avoiding the need to build as many as 120 large power plants.
Expanding Opportunities in Education
Higher Education: The United States is the most favored destination for Indian students, with more than 100,000 Indians pursuing higher studies in the United States. Since 2009, the jointly funded Fulbright-Nehru program has nearly tripled, with approximately 300 students and scholars from each country participating annually – making it the largest Fulbright faculty program in the world.
Primary Education and Teacher Preparation: USAID launched the READ Alliance, bringing together the public and private sectors to strengthen the reading skills of millions of Indian primary schoolchildren. USAID is also partnering with the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development and Arizona State University to train educators from 15 Indian states.
Obama-Singh Knowledge Initiative: Launched during Prime Minister Singh’s 2009 visit to Washington, the initiative already has funded 16 partnerships between U.S. and Indian universities and is currently inviting a third round of applicants.
Community College Collaboration: With the support of the U.S. government, U.S. community college administrators are collaborating with the Government of India on their goal of establishing 200 new community colleges. During the Higher Education Dialogue in June, the American Association of Community Colleges and the All India Council for Technical Education signed a Memorandum of Understanding to encourage cooperation and develop and implement activities between Indian and U.S. community colleges. In addition, the State Department sponsored Community College Initiative Program provides year-long educational and hands-on training opportunities in the United States for 40 Indian students every year.
Partnership in Global Development
Child Survival: In 2012, India and the United States, in partnership with Ethiopia and UNICEF, launched the Child Survival Call to Action to end preventable child deaths. Since the Call to Action, hundreds of government, civil society, and faith-based organizations have committed to promoting the ten best practices to prevent maternal and child deaths. Through this work, the United States and India are leading the world to target health investments, rigorously evaluate our work, and drive historic reductions in childhood mortality.
Millennium Alliance: The Millennium Alliance is a public-private partnership between USAID, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and India’s Technology Development Board supporting innovations that strengthen early-grade reading, provide safe drinking water and nutritious food stuffs, increase access to clean and affordable energy, and deliver quality health care to those most in need. With more than 1,400 applications received, the first awardees were announced in June 2013, receiving grants for nearly $1.5 million.
Science and Technology Endowment Board: The U.S.-India S&T Endowment Board is a bi-national initiative that supports commercialization of innovative technologies by awarding nearly $3 million annually for entrepreneurial projects. The Endowment Board plans to announce fourth call for grant proposals in the fall focusing on health, water, sanitation, and clean energy.
Triangular Cooperation in Agriculture: Launched by Prime Minister Singh and President Obama in 2010, the United States and India work together to improve agricultural productivity and innovation in Africa. USAID, the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) in Hyderabad, and the National Institute of Agricultural Marketing (NIAM) in Jaipur are providing training to agriculture professionals from Kenya, Liberia and Malawi.
Assistance to Afghan Women: The United States continues its collaboration with India to assist the people of Afghanistan, particularly in the areas of women’s economic empowerment and agriculture. Over the last year, dozens of Afghans have received scholarships to train at India agricultural institutions and develop vocational and leadership skills.