Building strong economic plank key to taking US-India strategic ties forward: Official

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New York, Jan.28 (ANI): The United States is of the view that building a strong economic plank with India is the key for building and taking forward the existing strategic partnership into the future.

Disclosing this to a distinguished gathering of intellectuals and academia at the Syracruse University earlier this week, Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, said: "We envision a relationship where together both countries (the United States and India) capitalize on our complementary strengths as knowledge and innovation hubs, to expand opportunities for engagement between our private sectors, academia, and scientific and research communities."

"Our governments need to match the ambition of our businesses. Washington and Delhi must serve as catalysts for growth and innovation, not stifle entrepreneurial spirit with overbearing bureaucracies," he added.

While the U.S. develops a long-term approach that expands the opportunities for our private sector, we have taken note that the EU is negotiating and Japan concluded free trade agreements with India.

He said that the "India Model" has provided monumental gains for its people over the last twenty years, "and hopefully, going forward, its progress heretofore will be enhanced by a future economic agility - where India can further capitalize on its growing middle class, knowledge-based society, and its rock-solid democratic principles."

He said that the Obama administration is very keen to take forward the concrete initiatives agreed upon during President Obama's trip to India in November 2010 to develop a global US-India strategic partnership.

He said the U.S. and India together can together profoundly influence the future of its peoples as well as the course of this new century before us.

India, he said, shared America's commitment to pluralism, religious liberty, universal education and the promotion of innovation and free enterprise.

"Indeed, our mutual commitment to these freedoms animates our global strategic partnership and provides us with the energy and the courage to build a better world together," Blake said, adding that he has been privileged to help advance the US-India partnership since 2003.

"One of the most striking assets our relations enjoy is bipartisan support in both of our countries. That has helped drive significant progress over the last decade, from President Clinton's landmark visit in 2000, to the civil nuclear deal negotiated by the Bush Administration," Blake said.

He said that both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are determined to take US-India relations to the next level.

"They have done so through the establishment of the first Strategic Dialogue between our two countries, chaired by Secretary Clinton and her counterpart External Affairs Minister Krishna, and through President Obama's landmark visit to India last November," he added.

Describing President Obama's trip to India as a watershed in US-India ties, Blake said that the challenge before both countries now, was to define an agenda for both governments going forward "that capitalizes on what we have achieved and meets the ambitious vision agreed by President Obama and Prime Minister Singh." (ANI)

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