Washington, June 2: India's quick response to the Nepal earthquake shows its growing leadership, a top American official said today adding that the Indo-US relationship has blossomed under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.
"The tragedy in Nepal actually provides an apt segue to India's growing regional leadership. Within four hours of the earthquake, Indian aircraft were on the way with relief supplies," Richard E Hoagland, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs said in his address to the Washington International Business Council.
"India sent hundreds of search and rescue and medical personnel, and evacuated thousands of third-country nationals, including many Americans," he said.
"And, not surprisingly, several of the aircraft India used in its relief efforts were built with the help of American companies, and we expect to see more of that as we expand our security and economic cooperation," he added.
Hoagland said the US is expanding its cooperation not just because India is the region's geographic anchor, and not just because it's the world's fastest-growing major economy, but because it's a country with which the US shares many core values and many common interests.
"Our relationship with India has really blossomed since last year's election of Prime Minister Modi," he said.
"President Barack Obama's most recent visit to India in January was historic not just for its symbolism, but also for its substance, especially for our strategic partnership, our security cooperation, our economic relationship, and our clean-energy and environmental goals," he said.
Our relationship with India has really blossomed: US
Noting that Obama and Modi have announced their intention to increase US-India trade five-fold, to USD 500 billion, he said for their part, India's recently-released foreign trade policy lays out a vision to double exports of goods and services to USD 900 billion by 2020.
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Hoagland said liberalisation of India's investment regime could double American investment into the country, and India could certainly use the technology, expertise, and capital that US companies have to offer.
"But our companies also need transparency, predictability, and legal certainty. So there's still a lot on our to-do list," he said and listed out several promising developments between the two countries.
"We overcame a deadlock on the Trade Facilitation Agreement at the WTO. We resumed discussions on the possibility for a high-standard Bilateral Investment Treaty.
We moved forward on issues that were impeding our civil-nuclear cooperation. We elevated our partnership to a Strategic and Commercial Dialogue," he said.