WASHINGTON: Ahead of the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry today said the destinies of US and India were "converging" and they will work to find ways to play to their strengths.
"Today, it is clear our destinies are converging. Prime Minister Modi will meet with President Obama next week (in New York), and we will work to find ways to play to our strengths," Kerry said in his address at the opening session of the inaugural India- US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.
"I'm confident that together we can help to shape a world that is more secure, peaceful and prosperous than it was before our efforts came together," he said in his address to top leaders from both sides. Kerry cautioned that unless the two countries do not lead on issues of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, meaningful gains will not be achieved.
"We've made a good start but we have to do more, within and beyond our boundaries, to drive home the urgency of growing economically in ways that are green and clean," he said.
"What is clear to everybody is that the choices that one makes in order to grow green and clean do not mean a choice between growth or the environment. Both can take place simultaneously," he said. Noting that the economic partnership is already growing stronger by the day, he said annual trade in goods and services between the United States and India has grown nearly five-fold since the year 2000 to just over USD 100 billion.
"And my government agrees with Prime Minister Modi that we can increase that figure to more than USD 500 billion in the years immediately ahead. Bilateral foreign direct investment stands today at more than USD 35 billion. It can go much higher," he said.
"Right now our economic connection supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in each of our countries, but we're not satisfied because we all know that there are many more openings to explore," Kerry said. The top American diplomat said India and the US have a lot of progress to show since the first edition of this dialogue when it was a security dialogue back in 2010.
"We also know that the greatest potential of our partnership can be found in the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of our citizens," he said.
"India and the United States are both defined by our belief that the future can absolutely be made better than the past, so we also share inherent sense of optimism as people. And we believe in freedom and the rights of all. We are aspirational --- not driven by insecurity or by fear, but we are driven, I think, both of us, by hope," Kerry said.