1st India-US Strategic & Commercial Dialogue in Washington, Opening Statement by External Affairs Minister


Secretary Kerry, Secretary Pritzker, Secretary Moniz, Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, Minister Piyush Goyal, Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Richard Verma and Ambassador Arun Singh, Distinguished delegates, and our media friends

Let me begin by thanking Secretary Kerry and Secretary Pritzker and the U.S. Government for hosting the first meeting of the India-U.S. Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. It gives me and my other Ministerial colleagues immense pleasure to guide the deliberations along with Cabinet level colleagues from the U.S. Government and with officials on both sides.

Let me also take this opportunity to thank the US government for the warm welcome and the hospitality extended to the Indian delegation.

These are busy times in India-U.S. relations. The impressive intensity, scale and level of achievements in our bilateral engagement since last year, is a testimony to the leadership, direct supervision and the tremendous importance attached to the bilateral relationship by our leaders, Prime Minister Modi and President Obama.

At a very fundamental level, a popular and bipartisan support in both the countries and shared values of democracy, freedom of speech and rule of law constitute key pillars of our Strategic Partnership.

The emerging context of India-U.S. political, strategic and security, and economic ties continues to be constantly shaped by international geo-politics, the strength of the Indian economy amidst global economic uncertainties and the need for partnership among democracies to respond to some of the global challenges like terrorism.

The narrative and specifics of substantive cooperative agenda are shaped by increasing convergences of strategic interests and mutual concerns, including in the Indian Ocean Region and the Asia-Pacific. A strong intent to tailor the relationship to harness political synergies and optimize economic complementarities, bilaterally, regionally and globally, permeates India’s approach to its ties with the U.S. And, after hearing you Secretary Kerry, I can clearly see much of that is similar in the U.S. approach.

One of the defining characteristics of our bilateral cooperative agenda since July last year has been purposeful action to implement the decisions agreed between the two leaders. Two Summit level meetings; regular Cabinet level engagements; robust and frequent strategic consultations and relentless domain specific functional interactions have ensured that there is no slackening of effort and no dilution of focus in our engagement on bilateral, regional and global issues. In this endeavour the community of Americans of Indian origin and more than 100,000 students studying in the US provide us an organic, living bridge in the dynamic partnership. To strengthen this further, India would be hosting the Regional Pravisiya Bharitya Divas in Los Angeles in November this year.

We have also sought to view the economic space of bilateral engagement as a crucial component of our strategic relationship. We firmly believe that an economically prosperous and successful India offers a long term opportunity to the U.S. industry and capital to deepen its mutually beneficial partnership with India through investment and technology and manufacturing.

Defence and security cooperation, strategic political engagement including in the field of civil nuclear cooperation, S&T, Health, Space, Energy, Health, trade and investment etc are some of the domains where we have sustained intense delivery oriented engagement. In some other domains though, creativity and shaper focus would ensure that we meet mutually agreed objectives and targets.

This dialogue provides us the opportunity to assess where we stand in terms of the goals that we had set for ourselves and set targets and objectives for the future. It is also important that we give ourselves timelines to achieve the targets. We should also be in a position to present to our leaders a clear vision of the road ahead.


As I said, these are busy times in our relationship. With Sanjha Prayas, Sab Ka Vikas, we indeed look forward to busier schedule in months ahead Thank you Secretary Kerry once again. We look forward to frank and fruitful discussions.

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