The US and India have reached a "transformative moment" in their relations, Secretary of State John Kerry has said ahead of his crucial visit to New Delhi for high-level talks with the new Indian government to revitalise ties that he termed as a "strategic imperative". Kerry also backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's poll slogan of "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas" calling it "a great vision", and a "vision that we want to support".
"We believe it's a great vision, and our private sector is eager to be a catalyst in India's economic revitalisation," Kerry said in a major foreign policy speech on India at an event held by the Center for American Progress, a top US think tank. He said now is the time to renew that dialogue with a new government, with a new set of opportunities, new possibilities.
"This is a potentially transformative moment in our partnership with India, and we're determined to deliver on the strategic and historic opportunities that we can create together," Kerry said ahead of his visit to New Delhi to co-chair the fifth India-US Strategic Dialogue with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on July 31.
"I want to emphasise the key relationship for the US – one of the key relationships for the US in that context is the deepening relationship with India, and particularly trying to deepen our ties with India in terms of our strategic imperatives, both of us. President Barack Obama is absolutely right to call this a defining partnership for the 21st century. India's new government has won an historic mandate to deliver change and reform," he said.
"And together, we have a singular opportunity to help India to be able to meet that challenge – to boost two-way trade, to drive South Asia's connectivity, to develop cleaner energy, to deepen our security partnership in the Asia Pacific and beyond. The US and India can and should be indispensable partners for the 21st century, and that is, I assure you, the way we approach the Modi government and the way we view this particular time," he said.
"This is the moment to transform our strategic relationship into a historic partnership. This can be a moment where our destinies converge. US and India can create a more prosperous future for the world," he said.
Noting that India-US ties are yet to "blossom" together, Kerry said, "The US and India can and should be indispensable partners for the 21st century. The dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit of our relationship is needed to solve some of world's greatest challenges."
He said the two countries can work together to tackle global challenges from climate change to clean energy and others. Kerry in his speech supported India's vision of an integrated South and Central Asia and that with Southeast Asia. The Obama administration is ready to help India in this regard, Kerry said as he praised Prime Minister Modi for his initiatives to establish peace and improve relationship with the neighbouring countries.
By inviting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his inauguration, Kerry said Modi has taken the "first step" to establish peace and friendship with its South Asian neighbour. Supporting the move to increase India-Pak economic relationship, Kerry said improved trade is a win-win for both the countries. Reiterating support for India's place in the UN Security Council, Kerry in his speech said India is a global power.
The Secretary of State listed out the progress made between the two countries in various areas including economy, clean energy, and counter-terrorism. The India-US collaboration on counter terrorism, in particular real-time information sharing, helps confront common threats and bring terrorists to justice, he said.
Describing climate change as a biggest challenge not only for the world, but also India, Kerry called for increased collaboration between the two countries on this issue.
Kerry said US President Barack Obama would welcome Prime Minister Modi at the White House in November. Kerry will be accompanied by the US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, as well as other members of the inter-agency, including Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security and NASA during his visit to New Delhi. The trip will mark the first US cabinet-level visit to New Delhi since Modi took over office.