"The bottom line is that this (India-US) partnership is broad and it is strong," Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom on Thursday said as she brought the message from US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. (Agencies)
"India's Republic Day reminds us of the strength of India's democratic institutions and traditions," Higginbottom said in her address at a reception organized by Indian Ambassador to US S Jaishankar, ahead of the January 26 celebrations.
"And it also reminds us of the strength of the ties between our people and our governments, as we often say, we have a strategic partnership between the oldest and the largest democracies in the world," Higginbottom said.
"We have a broad range of joint efforts and shared interests that keep propelling us forward," Higginbottom said, bringing the message of US President. "Our space cooperation has given Indian farmers better weather forecasts; our homeland security dialogue has made our countries safer from terrorist attacks and our health initiatives have enhanced our ability to detect dangerous pathogens that threaten all people,” she said.
"Our work on climate and energy issues has generated billions in funding for clean initiatives; our close cooperation on education brings faculty and researchers from India into US universities, and facilitates scholarly exchanges; and our strong trade and investment ties fight poverty and drive growth in both countries," Higginbottom said.
"We have reached close to USD 100 billion in bilateral trade each year, numbers that we expect to see increase in the coming years," Higginbottom said. "Beyond our bilateral relations, we are strong partners in building an international framework to underpin continued peace and prosperity," she added.
"Our regional dialogues, including US-India-Japan trilateral exchange and ASEAN Regional Forum, have helped develop a shared vision for stability in Asia and the Indian and Pacific Oceans," Higginbottom said, asserting that she has no doubt that "this relationship will continue to grow" for the benefit of all people of the two countries.
In his brief remarks, Jaishankar too exuded confidence of the relationship being back on track after brief period of tense moments between the two countries following the arrest of senior Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York in December on charges of visa fraud and misrepresentation of facts.
"I have been associated with this relationship for more than three decades. During these three decades, I have seen the transformation in this relationship. I am convinced that given our political convergence, our economic co-operation, shared values and ideals that we can take this relationship to still higher levels," Jaishankar said referring to the transformation in the bilateral relationship between the two countries in the past few decades.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry had met External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in Manteaux on the sidelines of the international meeting on Syria in Switzerland. This was the first high-level contact between the two countries after the Devyani episode.
"I think the fact that the Secretary sat down with his counterpart to discuss the whole range of issues we deal with India on is a sign that the relationship is moving forward and that we have a lot of work to do," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at her daily news conference.
"We are trying very hard to move past this. And I know the Secretary believes that as well. So again, we'll keep having discussions with the Indian government when they raise them, but we are very focused on moving the relationship forward," she said in response to a question.
The event among others was attended by top officials of the Obama Administration including Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal and several others from the Pentagon.
"The bottom line is that this (India-US) partnership is broad and it is strong," Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom on Thursday said as she brought the message from US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.