Washington-Delhi should emulate Manhattan-Mumbai, Boston-Bangalore ties

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says official ties between Washington and New Delhi needed to catch up with growing people-to-people and economic linkages that have developed between Manhattan and Mumbai or Boston and Bangalore.

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Noting that trade between the two nations has doubled, since 2004, and now exceeds $43 billion and there are over 90,000 Indian students studying in the United States, Clinton said: “We need the bilateral cooperation between our governments to catch up with our people-to-people and economic ties.”

“We need to make sure that the partnership between Washington and New Delhi, our capitals, will be as advanced and fruitful as the linkages that already exist between Manhattan and Mumbai, or Boston and Bangalore,” she said at the US-India Business Council’s (USIBC) Synergies Summit here Wednesday.

The two governments had made significant progress in their cooperation over the past several years, she said, “but this is a relationship that has largely grown from the ground up, and I think our governments are ready to start following the examples of partnership established by our citizens, our companies and our colleges.”

“You see, a funny thing happened on the way to this third era of US-India relations. Our scientists and businesspeople, our universities and movie studios and vibrant, Indian-American, personal-familial connections accepted the truth – that cooperation between our countries can be a driver of progress – long before our policymakers did,” she said.

Suggesting that India’s growing role in the global economy was as well as accepted as the law of gravity, Clinton said: “The word about India has obviously spread. People know what kind of business and investment opportunities are there.”

“India’s growing role in the global economy is accepted the way we accept the law of gravity. And the partnerships that are blooming at all levels of our societies are indeed exciting,” she said.

Clinton assured the gathering of businesspeople that “President Barack Obama has been clear that that the United States has learned the lessons of the past. We will not use the global financial crisis as an excuse to fall back on protectionism.”

Expressing the hope that India will work with the US to create a more open, equitable set of opportunities for trade between the two nations, Clinton suggested that the two countries begin negotiation on a bilateral investment treaty soon.

She also expressed confidence that the new US Trade Representative Ronald and India’s new Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, “will bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to help move the Doha Round negotiations to a successful conclusion.”