Nancy Izzo Jackson: “Would we have loved for India to have voted ‘yes’ in the UN with us”

Ritu Jha-


India has once again abstained from voting in a UN General Assembly resolution that condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which started a year ago. The motion was backed by 141 nations with 32 abstaining and seven, including Russia, voting against it. India reiterated its position on the invasion, saying that peaceful dialogue was the only way out.

Nancy Izzo Jackson, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA), on Thursday, February 23 during a press conference held at the University of Silicon Andhra in Milpitas, California, on India abstaining from voting again told indica, “From the very outset of the horrible war that is being perpetrated by Putin on Ukraine, we have had conversations with India. And while we might not always agree in terms of policy steps to the issue, we agree on basic principles and we’ve heard that from the Indian government in terms of talking about territorial integrity, sovereignty, and upholding the UN Charter.”

She said that the bedrock of all of this, of this strong US-India relationship, really is the people-to-people ties that the two nations enjoy. “We have some 4 million plus Indian Americans, one of our fastest-growing diasporas,” she said.

“We’ve also seen a lot of steps that India has taken in terms of providing humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people, which we are very pleased about. And then we saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi tell Vladimir Putin in public that this is not a time for war. We agree with all of that. We want to see an end to this conflict too. And so I think on the fundamentals, there’s a lot that we agree on,” Jackson said. “Would we have loved for India to have voted ‘yes’ in the UN with us? Of course.”

“As I look at the US-India relationship, the thing that strikes me first and foremost is that 2023 is a very busy year for India and for the US-India partnership. As all of you know, as president of the G20 this year, India will host upwards of 200 meetings around the country. And we very, very, very much look forward to working closely on the shared priorities with India that we have for the G20 this year. We’re incredibly impressed by the scope and scale of India’s G20 presidency. As we look at the shared priorities for the G20, a few things that I would like to highlight, strengthening food security is a big priority for us as well as for India, and advancing global health is another area where I think US and India have had a strong partnership. And we only hope to increase and expand that,”  she said.

Talking about women’s economic security and how it has been a priority for the Indian government and that of the US, Jackson added: “I have spent a lot of time the past two days here in California, talking about some of the initiatives that we’re doing to strengthen women’s economic empowerment in India. And then last, but certainly not least, is how do we combat the threat of synthetic drugs? And by that, I’m really thinking of the scourge of fentanyl that we have seen in recent months and years.”

“As we look at India’s presidency of the G20, we know that India’s role on the global stage continues to grow. And so too does the US and India relationship. And that’s kind of where I come in. Where can we work together with India? And there are so many areas. There are too many to name, frankly. But I would like to talk a little bit about where we’re partnering most closely on a whole range of issues that are critically important to our peoples, both here in the US and in India, but also to tackle the kind of challenges that we face in the 21st century. Because the US and India relationship is one of the most consequential that we have for the future,” Jackson said.

What do those issues look like? Jackson said that the issues are economic prosperity, empowering women, upholding the free and open rules-based order that is grounded in international law, and addressing the challenges of climate change, food security, and global health. “Bolstering economic security through expanded trade and investment, something we spend a lot of time talking about it and upholding democratic norms and principles. There is so much work that’s going on in the US-India, bilateral relationship.”

The US sees much potential for expanded trade and investment. “We have and are really excited about the recent announcement by Boeing and Air India for the order of 220 aircraft. That really does reflect the strength of the US-India economic relationship,” Jackson said.

“And we recently had the visit by Indian National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, to Washington, DC where he met with our national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, to launch the US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies, or as iCET as we like to call it. But iCET signals for us all the ways in which we want to partner with India on the technologies of the future. Everything from AI, quantum technology, green energy, and space, all of that is under iCET, led by our national security advisors,” she added.

The US is also working with India multilaterally through the Quad. “Here we’re showing the world that when four democracies work together, we can deliver tangible benefits to our people and the region. Whether that’s in the distribution of vaccines, in which India has been a tremendous leader, or improving maritime domain awareness that will help reduce things like irregular unregulated fishing that has an economic drain for countries, or drug trafficking. We are also looking at what more we can do on Quad fellowships. We’re bringing students as part of the Quad to study these 21st-century challenges together.”



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