The US and India: The Expanding Bilateral Relationship
Ambassador Meera Shankar of India
Photos | Transcript

Amb. Meera ShankarWashington, DC—On September 14, 2010, Ambassador Meera Shankar of India hosted WFPG members and guests at her residence for a reception and program on the US and India's expanding bilateral relationship. Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, WFPG Board Member and former Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, served as moderator.

Ambassador Shankar spoke about the increasingly close relationship between the US and India and outlined areas of cooperation between the two countries. She stressed the similar fundamental values and convergent interests of the two nations: democracy (the world's oldest and the world's largest), a pluralist society, the rule of law, and a balance between central and local governance.

Ambassador Shankar discussed the expanding Indian economy, which continued to grow at rates of 6-7% during the global recession and reached a rate of 8.8% in the first quarter of 2010. The Indian government plans to continue to develop its three key economic sectors of manufacturing, services, and agriculture, as well as to encourage more foreign investment from nations such as the United Sates. The government hopes to combat the nation's poverty issues by sustaining these levels of rapid growth over the next decade.

Globally, the United States and India share important objectives such as combating terrorism, preventing proliferation, and collaborating on issues relating to climate change, energy, and trade. Additionally, India also hopes to work with the US in the areas of disease eradication, education, culture, and renewable energy. The US and India have a working security relationship, which includes joint military exercises and the procurement of defense equipment.

The Ambassador also discussed India's relationship with its neighbors—including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and China—and their impact on the India-US bilateral relationship. The two nations maintain open discussions on interactions with Pakistan. In Afghanistan, India has opted out of a security role, but has worked actively to build and develop Afghan infrastructure. India has a longstanding relationship with Iran, and the Ambassador explained how India can be a US partner and still maintain ties with the Iranian government. India and China have a multifaceted relationship, which has been complicated further by recent border disputes. However, the Ambassador also reiterated the Indian Prime Minister's view that there was room enough for two emerging world economies.

Ambassador Shankar hoped that after President Obama's visit to India in November relations between the countries would become even closer, in keeping with the President's description of the US—India relationship as a "key strategic partnership of the 21st century."


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Ambassador Meera Shankar of India with
Board Member Ambassador Paula Dobriansky
(Moderator) and WFPG President Patricia Ellis

  Patricia Ellis, Board Member Donna Constantinople,
Board Chair Maxine Isaacs, and Harsha Tilokani
of the Embassy of India

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Ambassador Shankar speaks to WFPG

  Patricia Ellis, Ambassador Dobriansky, and
Ambassador Chan Heng Chee of Singapore

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Ambassador Dobriansky, Ambassador Shankar,
and Patricia Ellis

  Board Chair Maxine Isaacs welcomes guests

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Ambassador Dobriansky introduces the speaker

  WFPG members and guests listen to the remarks

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Board Vice-Chair Gail Leftwich Kitch, Donna
Constantinople, Ambassador Shankar, and
Patricia Ellis

  Ambassador Cynthia Schneider asks a question

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Board member Isabel Jasinowski with Jerry Jasinowski

  Board Member Theresa Loar and Kathleen Penney
of CH2M HILL with Ambassador Shankar

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Ambassador Shankar greets a guest

  Ambassador Faida M. Mitifu of the Democratic Republic
of the Congo with Tim Kernan of DAI