Remarks at the Confederation of Indian Industry
Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs
Thank you for that warm introduction. It is a pleasure to address this distinguished audience. For over a century, this organization has played a vital role in the growth of Indian enterprise. Through your conferences, reports, research papers and partnerships, you have helped launch India onto the world’s stage.
This is a time of great opportunity and great promise for India. From energy security to food security, from climate change to economic recovery; there is hardly an issue of international importance which is not informed by India’s perspective or its international role. This country, “born on the stroke of midnight” is waking to a new dawn of global leadership.
While this is undisputedly an exciting time in India, it is also an exciting moment for the relationship between the United States and India. Our bond has matured and has strengthened dramatically in recent years. We can count on each other as partners in promoting democracy, economic opportunity and a more stable and prosperous world. This partnership is truer today than it has ever been and I am very confident that our partnership will only grow more robust in the coming years.
The benefits of this close relationship are real and palpable. We’re seeing more of your goods in our stores, more of your scientists in our labs, more of your students in our universities and more of your CEOs in our boardrooms. We’ve marked greater business-to-business collaboration than ever before. From the small-and-medium enterprises to the Fortune 500 companies—all are eager to reap the mutual benefits of new ideas and new markets.
And we’ve expanded our diplomacy—opening the doors to new areas of collaboration between our two governments. Last November, President Obama welcomed Prime Minister Singh for the first state visit of the Obama Administration. Six months later, Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna launched the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue. And President Obama plans his own visit to India in November.
Why is there so much focus on the relationship between our two nations right now? Because I think that all of us—in civil society, business, and government—realize that the futures of our countries are intertwined. The United States cannot achieve its objectives for an open and stable world without our partnership with India. If we are to ensure the upward mobility of our own citizens as well as others, we need to forge global partnerships with countries that also support diversity, pluralism, rule of law and religious tolerance. In that regard, India is a natural partner. With its upwardly mobile millions and its dynamic growth agenda, India can more effectively prosper in partnership with the United States than going it alone. So it’s imperative that we build upon our common interests and find new ways to achieve our common goals.
So today, I would like to highlight four areas in which we can brighten our shared future: (1) investment, (2) energy, (3) agriculture, and (4) global economic cooperation.
On the subject of investment, what’s true for friends and individuals is often true for business—whom you give your money to is a pretty good indicator of whom you trust. And so it’s telling that at no other time has foreign direct investment between the United States and India been as high. Between 2006 and 2008, U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) almost doubled—reaching almost 7 percent of all inward FDI in India. The U.S. is one of India’s top investors with FDI in India totaling $16.1 billion in 2008. India is also a noteworthy source of investment in the U.S. with $4.5 billion in FDI in the same year. India now represents the fastest growing source of FDI coming in to the United States.
The two most popularly cited examples of U.S. investment in India are a $200 million dollar investment by PepsiCo and a $500 million investment by Ford in India. But investments go both ways. For example, Essar Steel Ltd invested $1.6 billion to buy Minnesota Steel Industries, and it was just reported in Indian papers that Reliance invested $400 million to buy a 60% stake in Marcellus Shale acreage in Pennsylvania.
We welcome investment of Indian companies in the U.S. as providers of capital, know-how, American jobs, dynamic innovation and highly talented people. I know we can raise this level even higher. But in order to do so, our private sectors will need some help. The government of India can help by reducing and removing investment limits in areas such as infrastructure, retail, defense, and insurance sectors. We also believe American businesses would welcome improvements in dispute resolution and more transparent regulations in vital sectors like telecommunications. They would also welcome more cooperation and collaboration during the regulation drafting process.
Investments by the U.S. private sector provide real benefits to the people of India. They create new jobs for workers, lower prices for consumers, and encourage more trade across different sectors. In the months and years to come, our governments will work even closer to strengthen our bilateral economic relationship. That includes re-launching a high level Investment Focus Group under the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum in September.
This spirit of cooperation and collaboration also extends to energy sector, because we share an interest in finding sustainable and responsible ways to fuel our economic growth. A recent study by McKinsey Consulting notes that “80 percent of the India of 2030 is yet to be built.” Currently, India is home to 1/6th of the world’s population and accounts for only 5% of world energy demand. But with India’s rapid growth, its demand for energy will likely accelerate in the coming years. The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that India will account for 16% of the global increase in primary energy use by 2030. This suggests the potential for India to be a pioneer in advancing alternative energy sources, green development, and low-carbon growth.
And we are eager to work with India to address these challenges. That’s because India, the United States, and many of the world’s other major consumers and importers of energy are at risk of supply disruptions. And so diversifying energy resources and suppliers is a political, economic, and national security priority for all of us.
In May 2009, Foreign Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton agreed to intensify cooperation on energy security and global climate change. In November 2009, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form the joint U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy—known as PACE. It seeks to capitalize on both countries’ relative advantages to promote the research and deployment of clean technologies in India, the United States and around the world. We continued these discussions and announced at the June U.S.- India Strategic Dialogue talks to deepen cooperation on India’s shale gas resource development. And In August, we invited an Indian delegation to discuss the full range of regulatory, investment, and environmental issues involved with shale gas development. With President’s Obama’s visit to India only two months away, both countries have identified priority projects and we continue to work together on the challenges of energy security and climate change.
On issues of food security and agriculture, we are also making progress. Over 40 years ago, two scientists, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan from India and Dr. Norman Borlaug from the United States, planted the first seeds of a Green Revolution. Using new breeding techniques that produced wheat strains that could resist pests and disease, they changed the way world produced food. As a result they helped save millions suffering from hunger and malnutrition.
But today, with nearly one sixth of the world again at risk of having not enough to eat, it is time for the second Green Revolution. That’s why, yesterday, Under Secretary of Agriculture, Jim Miller and I joined Foreign Secretary Rao to launch the U.S.-India Agriculture Dialogue. Our collaboration will help discover solutions for agriculture challenges we face due to the changing environment. We will harness the technology that will improve agricultural productivity for farmers. By sharing our expertise, we can once again develop new tools and resources that will benefit “Aam Aadmi”—the common man.
This work builds upon a partnership between our top government science agencies. In August, a delegation of Indian scientists and policymakers led by Dr. Kasturirangan came to Washington to meet with American experts for a conference on forecasting and crop management. The two sides agreed to a framework for specific areas of cooperation to enhance food security for the Indian people.
We know that a bad monsoon will reduce harvests, pushing down food stocks and pushing up food prices. And so we are developing the tools that can deliver information to farmers about how best to manage climate change and crop conditions. Using the most advanced technology, we will meet the most basic needs of human beings. We're also are exploring other exciting developments, such as drought-resistant crops and technologies that will help both our countries adapt to the challenges of climate change, as well as improving nutrition and food security.
Global Economic Cooperation
Finally, I want to mention the role India and the United States must play in strengthening the institutions of global economic cooperation. We all want a world that is safer, more prosperous and more secure, but we know that no nation can create those conditions on its own. As the largest and most powerful democracies on the globe, we have a unique opportunity—and I believe the responsibility—to strengthen the institutions that foster international cooperation.
And in few other areas has this been more important than in the economic realm. The United States recognizes that a new economic geography has emerged in recent years with more nations playing a substantial role in the global economy. These new economies bring new ideas, new expertise, and new approaches to the international system. And let me say clearly and unequivocally that we welcome their participation.
World leaders have made the G20 the premier forum for more discussion on international economic and financial cooperation. And it has been effective in responding to the global economic crisis because its members account for 85% of world output and 80% of world trade.
The G20 also provides an opportunity to spur economic growth and create jobs by working with the other major economies of the world to:
- Secure a durable recovery while ensuring fiscal sustainability;
- Build a balanced global economy; and
- Repair and reform the regulation of the financial section.
At the next G20 Summit in Seoul, world leaders will review progress made in all of these areas since the Toronto Summit and focus on next steps—including development goals, anticorruption efforts, food security, fossil fuel subsidies, and financial inclusion. We can see signs of recovery but we must keep working to ensure that it continues, reaches the world’s poorest citizens and builds a foundation for strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
In conclusion, United States and India must confront the fact that the world around us is changing. Whereas military might may have been a defining characteristic of great powers in the 20th century, today a nation’s ability to innovate, to support the development of science and technology, to fully utilize the talented human energy of its population, and to promote entrepreneurship are just as important, if not more so. These are the new building blocks for success in the 21st century. And by working together, the United States and India can build upon a common foundation to the benefit of both our peoples for years to come