Kerry Mentions UN Permanent Seat Carrot for India But Economy to Dominate (with video)

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Delhi on Sunday

Must read

Washington, DC – US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday (June 20) said that during his trip to India next week he was looking forward to enhancing economic integration and reiterating US support for India’s leadership in the region with a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, while making a strong commitment for peace in Afghanistan.

“We are going to talk about our shared interests and enhancing economic integration in the region, our commitment to a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan and our support for India’s regional leadership. This is a critical, ongoing conversation between the United States and India. It’s one that demonstrates our firm belief that a strong India is in America’s national interests,” said Kerry ahead of his India visit.

Stressing the role of India in the development of war-torn Afghanistan, the only Indian American Congressman, Ami Bera, in a letter urged Secretary Kerry to focus on strengthening the partnership between India and the US, especially as the US draws down its troops in Afghanistan. The letter was co-authored with the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Based on a recent trip made by Bera and Ros-Lehtinen to Afghanistan, and the economic and strategic ties between the US and India, the letter said, “Overall, India is capable of making a significant contribution to international efforts to maintain the democratic gains that the United States and our coalition partners have achieved, and helping to anchor regional stability.” The letter continued, “The economic linkages between India and Afghanistan are especially critical as Afghanistan struggles to move to a goods and trade based economy.”

Addressing the people of India in a recent YouTube video, Kerry said, “Namaskar. I am very much looking forward to visiting India in the coming days,” adding, “The United States not only welcomes India as a rising power, we fervently support it. And that’s why President Obama and I support India’s inclusion as a member, a permanent member, of a reformed and expanded United Nations Security Council.”

Kerry, who will be arriving on Sunday (June 24) in New Delhi on his maiden visit as the US Secretary of State for the fourth US-India Strategic Dialogue, said, “I will be leading the US delegation to the 4th US-India strategic dialogue. Our collaboration has never been more important than it is today. President Obama has said the friendship between our two nations is one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. Personally, I have seen that friendship come a long way in the last 20 years.”

Noting that the bilateral collaboration extends, “closely in almost every field of human endeavor,” Kerry said, “Together, we are tackling shared challenges and making the most of new opportunities. From higher education to clean energy, from counterterrorism to space science, we are seizing new opportunities to work together, and in doing so, we’re increasing the prosperity and security of both of our peoples.”

Recalling his visit immediately after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Kerry said, “Both of our countries have learned too well the pain of terrorism. After the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, I met with Prime Minister Singh, and that’s a meeting that I’ll never forget.”

Kerry acknowledged the contributions of Indians and Indian-Americans to the US economy, saying, “Over the last decade, our bilateral trade has, believe it or not, grown five-fold. Our students and educational institutions are collaborating in record numbers. US businesses are investing in India’s booming markets. And Indian innovations are powering Silicon Valley.”

“I’m very excited to meet with the next generation of Indian leaders. We’re all counting on them to help us solve some of our biggest global challenges, like the health of our planet and our people,” said Kerry, possibly referencing Rahul Gandhi, one of the youth Congress party leaders and a prospective unnamed prime ministerial candidate.

During the daily press briefing, the State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said, “I expect the conversation during the trip to be wide-ranging. There are number of issues that we work on bilaterally with India, whether it’s our economic relationship or issues like climate change and energy, security and counter terrorism issues.”

Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, was more forthcoming while participating at a roundtable discussion at CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies), a Washington, DC based think-tank. Putting economic issues at the top of Kerry’s agenda, followed by a dialogue on higher education, Blake said, “India has its own concerns on comprehensive immigration reform. Obviously we need to hear from that. The purpose of the dialogue is to hear each other out in a very open and friendly manner and then figure out who is going to take charge of fixing these.”

There has been a recent flurry of letters to President Barack Obama from various US industrial groups, supported by dozens of members of Congress from both parties, expressing concern over policies of the Indian Government which “favor domestic producers over US exporters.”

“On a bipartisan basis, we understand that the US must demonstrate strong leadership in protecting IP rights and ensure that our trading partners pursue high standards of IP protection,” said the letter from members of the House of Representatives.

“Over the last year, Indian policymakers and courts have taken a series of actions designed to block imports by forcing local production of a wide range of manufactured goods,” the members of Congress wrote, echoing concerns raised by the newly formed Alliance for Fair Trade with India (AFTI), which is co-chaired by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GITC).

Last week, the NAM, along with other key industry associations, sent a letter to President Obama raising concerns about the harm that India’s unfair trade practices are imposing on manufacturers in the United States.

The allegations detail that over the last year, the Government of India has systematically discriminated against a wide range of US innovative products and exports in order to benefit India’s business and industrial community at the expense of American jobs. These actions constitute a disturbing trend that puts at risk a growing bilateral trade relationship worth over $60 billion in 2012 alone.

During next week’s trip, Secretary Kerry will be accompanied by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM); Admiral Samuel J Locklear, NASA Administrator; Charles Bolten, USAID Administrator; Rajiv Shah, Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; and Rand Beers, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for National Protection and Programs. Others prominent in the delegation include John Holdren, Science and Technology Advisor to President Obama, and Fred Hochberg, Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the US.

More articles

Latest article