India-US ties, most consequential of this century: Top American envoys

India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the region.
Image used for representative purposes only. (Photo | Pexels)
Image used for representative purposes only. (Photo | Pexels)

WASHINGTON: India-US relationship is the most consequential relationship of this century, one in which Indian-Americans have an important role to play, a top diplomat from the Biden Administration has said.

Rich Verma, the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources made this assertion on Wednesday during the India-US Summit hosted by Congressional India Caucus's Co-Chair Ro Khanna.

"The US-Indian relationship has had its ups and downs. But really over the last 23 years or so, we have been going up and not without a few dips here and there, and not without some challenging issues," Verma, said.

Verma, 54, believes that the US-India relationship is the most consequential relationship of this century because of India's critical geo-strategic location in a tough neighbourhood.

"It is the most consequential relationship of this century. Why? (First) India is in the most critical geo-strategic location in a very tough neighbourhood, but in a critically important neighbourhood. Second, India is going to lead the world in every category in the next few years," he said.

India, has already become the most populous country, has the world's biggest middle-class population, the greatest number of college graduates, the greatest number of internet users, the third-largest economy, the third-largest military, the world's largest democracy, the greatest development and industrialisation taking place today and migration of people going from rural parts of India into the cities, he said.

"So, this is a country on the move. You can feel it when you're there. You can see it when you're there. And, there's no doubt that the US wants to continue to be the closest partner with India as it's on that move. And India is playing an even greater leadership role in the world, chair of the G- 20, doing a very important job in that respect," Verma said.

Verma said the issue that is at the core that holds this relationship together is the people-to-people ties.

"You know, governments are behind where the people are, where the businesses are, where the students are, where the innovators are. So, we must continue to support all those people who want to come here. We have to support all the connections that all of you have. That is why the work that all of you have been doing is so critically important. We are two of the world's most important countries, but we are the two largest democracies of the world, and we cannot forget that," he explained.

The governments will do their part, but let's remember what really makes this relationship great. It is the great people of India and it's the great people of the United States who come together, he added.

'Relationship critical to world's future'

America's Ambassador-Designate to India Eric Garcetti said that the US-India relationship is critical to the world's future while asserting that the two countries have never worked as closely together on a range of issues as they do today.

Garcetti, 52, President Joe Biden's close aide, was officially sworn in as the US Ambassador to India last month, ending more than two years of delay to fill one of Washington's most critical diplomatic positions.

"There are few relationships in the world that are more vital to the US and India. Our relationship in the world is critical to its future. As President (Joe) Biden has said, India and the US are indispensable partners," Garcetti told the gathering.

"Before I came out to India, I spoke with President (Joe) Biden about his vision for the US-India partnership. He stressed just how pivotal this moment is. It is pivotal for the entire planet and especially pivotal for our two countries," Garcetti said.

The US and India have never worked as closely together on as many issues as they do today. "We are two of the world's leading democracies. We are the world's largest and fifth largest economies," he said.

'Relationship will continue to grow'

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said that the relationship between the US and India will continue to grow in importance because of the shared democratic values and strategic interests, particularly in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region.

India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the region.

"The relationship between the United States and India is an important one now and will continue to grow in importance because of our shared democratic values. India being the largest democracy in the world, our shared democratic values, and our shared strategic interests, particularly in the Indo-Pacific," Jeffries told the gathering.

"Your presence here today is so important. The Indian-American community matters. The caucus that role leads matters. Your voice matters. The values that you have brought to Capitol Hill matter. You have my commitment that I will continue to work closely with Roe (Khanna) and with (Congressman) Raja (Krishnamoorthi) and the (Congressional India) caucus, to make sure that we can strengthen the relationship between the United States and India to tackle some of the geopolitical challenges that we face in a cooperative, robust way," Jefferies added.

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