No more important partner in Asia than India: US



Washington: Describing India as its most important partner in Asia, the US says the growing convergence in interests and outlook has brought about unprecedented cooperation on issues ranging from regional and global security to counterterrorism.

"President Obama has called our partnership with India a 'defining partnership for the 21st century,'" recalled Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake during a talk at Boston University's India Symposium in Boston, Massachusetts, Friday.

"And as we go about the much-talked about 'Asia rebalance,' there's no more important partner for the United States in the region than India," he said, according to a copy of the address released by the State Department.

"The growing convergence of our interests and outlook has brought about unprecedented cooperation on regional and global security, economics and trade, education, science and technology, clean energy, health, and counterterrorism," Blake said.

India's Minister for Human Resources Development Pallam Raju will visit Washington next week to lay the groundwork for the Higher Education Dialogue to be held with the US-India Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi next month.

"We will work together to help India achieve its ambitious goal to establish 200 community colleges; build the next cadre of America's India experts; and increase access to higher education through innovative use of technology," Blake said.

"The commitment by both governments to emphasize higher education collaboration underscores our shared belief that education is the lynchpin of the entrepreneurship and innovation that will drive our knowledge economies and growth and help us meet new challenges."

While the US has long been a favoured destination for Indian students with over 100,000 new Indian students coming to the US every year, India ranks only eleventh among the destinations for American students studying abroad, he noted.

"I want many more Americans to experience the richness of India's culture, the vibrancy of its young people, and the dynamism of its economy," Blake said.

The US official said he was "very excited that discussions like ours are taking place at so many levels, because both our countries can contribute to one another, and frankly, can learn from each other."

IANS