iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
According to Ken Juster, the US Ambassador to India, the bilateral relationship between India and the US has been at the ‘highest level’.
As his tenure as the Ambassador to India is running out with Donald Trump stepping out of the office, Juster talked about how the relationship between these nations strengthened in the past four years under Trump’s administration.
On Tuesday, January 5, he not only hailed the US-India partnership but also said that Washington is ‘committed’ to the bilateral ties at ‘highest level’.
In a public address, Juster said that the United States backs India’s elevation on the world stage and hailed the democratic model of the nation that does not hinder the sovereignty of other countries. Touching upon the Indo-pacific region, the US Ambassador to India said that it “has become a reality in the past four years”.
Ken Juster also noted that outgoing US President Donald Trump in 2017 had described America’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific enabling the independent and sovereign nations with diverse cultures to prosper together “side by side” and thrive in both freedom as well as in peace.
“The concept of Indo-Pacific has been many years in the making. It is in the past four years that our countries have shown the ambition to turn it into reality,” said Ken Juster.
Further weighing in on the enhanced US-India relationship, Ken Juster said that there are no bilateral ties that are more “complex, broad, and real” as that shared between Washington and New Delhi.
He noted that both nations have cooperated in a wide range of sectors including defense, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, cybersecurity, trade, investment, energy, environment, health, education, science and technology, energy, environment, agriculture, space, and oceans among others.
The US Ambassador to India also said that both the United States and India have articulated a vision and common set of principles for the Indo-pacific through high-level engagements on maritime security, COVID-19 pandemic management and regional connectivity. Further, he said the 2+2 ministerial dilogies between both the nations have also enhanced the cooperation in defense and security.
On trade and investment, Ken Juster said, “Prior to the COVID19 pandemic, the US-India trade and investment relationship continued to grow and expand. In 2019, #bilateraltrade in goods and services had surged to $146.1 billion, significantly up from the $18.6 billion mark in 2001.”
He also cautioned that the India’s newly gained self-reliance moto ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and “Make in India” initiatives have the potential to lead to higher tariffs and other trade barriers that could hit the country’s capacity to integrate into global value chains.
The high tariffs that the US claim was one of the key reasons why there weren’t any significant trade deals that were promised by Trump took place between India and the US.
Juster pointed to “frictions and frustrations” on trade and investment between India and the US, and said the two sides were unable to finalize even a “small trade package” despite persistent efforts.
Noting that the US is India’s largest trading partner, and India the 12th largest partner of the US, he said bilateral trade was worth $146.1 billion in 2019, up from $18.6 billion in 2001. It is “frustrating” that bilateral trade isn’t near its potential and greater openness on the part of India would boost trade and investment, he added.
However he didn’t fail to address the fact that now since the interest in associating with China has filtered, India could greatly benefit from this new development.
Juster said India has a “strategic opportunity to become an alternative destination for manufacturing investments” as American and other companies find it “increasingly difficult to operate in China or seek to diversify away from Chinese-led supply chains”, but the Indian government may need to take further action to benefit fully.