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Highlights of Ambassador Meera Shankar’s speech at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville on "INDIA AND THE UNITED STATES - A GROWING PARTNERSHIP"

Charlottesville, VA
December 2, 2009

· Growing ties in the field of education between India and the US represent just one strand in a truly multi-faceted relationship that exists between our two countries.

· With a savings rate around 35% of the GDP, India can with prudent policies, sound investments and continuing reforms, return to a long-term growth path of 8-10% per year. 

· India's policies now focus increasingly on the agriculture sector and on creating opportunities in the rural economy that still supports 60% of the population; on enabling the economically and socially disadvantaged sections of our society; and, on raising the investment in our infrastructure from 5% of GDP to 9-10%.

· As
we look ahead, three areas that will command national priority in India are energy, environment and education. Over the next two decades, we will seek to expand our nuclear energy from 4000 MWe to 20,000 MWe by 2020; add nearly 20,000 MW of solar energy by 2020; substantially expand the base of wind and biomass energy; increase energy efficiency; and, expand our forest cover from 22% to 33% of the area.

· The economic progress of over a billion people, driven largely by domestic demand and investment, will be a factor of stability in the global economy and a source of immense economic opportunity for the world. 

· The elimination of terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries in Pakistan and Afghanistan, is not only vital for security and stability in our region, it is also vital for making our world a safer place.

· India and the United States have transformed their relationship, building and deepening cooperation across a very wide field, redefining paradigms and turning constraints of the past into opportunities for the future.

· India's ties with the United States have emerged as one of our most comprehensive partnerships, nurtured not only by the engagement between the governments, but also by the vitality of our fast expanding private partnerships and warmth of ties between our peoples.

· A new element is the growth in Indian investments into the United States. In fact, on the basis of annual flows, Indian FDI in the U.S. has exceeded US foreign direct investment into India in recent years in diverse sectors.

· The Indian Prime Minister's visit to Washington DC in Nov 2009, we believe, has renewed the commitment of the two governments to this partnership and has laid the foundation for strengthening cooperation across the extraordinary breadth of our bilateral engagement. 

· The ongoing transformation of the Indian economy provides new avenues to strengthen her economic engagement with the US in ways that advance the economic welfare of our people and puts our economies on a more sustainable path. But, beyond that, we will work together to advance global stability, security and sustainable development as we respond to the opportunities and challenges of our shared world. This is a relationship, which can be, as President Obama said, one of the defining relationships of the 21st century.