The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the President of the United States of America Barack Obama met on September 29, 2014. Marking their first bilateral summit, the President recognised the Prime Minister’s historic election victory in the largest democratic election ever held.
For the first time, an India-US joint statement specifically mentioned the situation in South China Sea as President Barack Obama and PM Narendra Modi expressed concern about “rising tensions over maritime territorial disputes” in that region.
The joint statement was issued after the bilateral meeting between the two leaders which took place days after the standoff with China in southeastern Ladakh ended with the withdrawal of both Chinese and Indian troops
The two leaders extolled the broad strategic and global partnership between the United States and India, which will continue to generate greater prosperity and security for their citizens and the world. Prime Minister Modi emphasised the priority India accords to its partnership with the United States, a principal partner in the realisation of India’s rise as a responsible, influential world power. They endorsed the first “Vision Statement for the Strategic Partnership” as a guide to strengthen and deepen cooperation in every sector for the benefit of global stability and people’s livelihoods over the next ten years. They committed to a new mantra of “Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go.” Both leaders agreed to revitalise the existing partnership and find new areas for collaboration and mutual benefit.
Economic Growth : Noting that two-way trade has increased fivefold since 2001 to nearly $100 billion, President Obama and Modi committed to facilitate the actions necessary to increase trade another fivefold. They recognised that the US and Indian businesses have a critical role to play in sustainable, inclusive, and job-led growth and development.
In order to raise investment by institutional investors and corporate entities, the leaders pledged to establish an Indo-US Investment Initiative led by the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Treasury, with special focus on capital market development and financing of infrastructure.
The leadets underlined the important contribution that US locomotive technology, equipment to monitor rail system assets, and US best practices can play in modernising India’s vast railway network, including accessing programs of US Trade and Development Agency in this work.
The two leaders committed to hold public-private discussions in early 2015 under the Commercial Dialogue on new areas of cooperation, including innovation in advanced manufacturing. The President also offered to support the Indian PM to achieve his goal of preparing young Indians for 21stcentury jobs through new partnerships to share expertise and global standards for skills development in India, including by reinvigorating the Higher Education Dialogue.
Energy and Climate Change :?The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to implement fully the U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement. They established a Contact Group on advancing the implementation of civil nuclear energy cooperation in order to realise early their shared goal of delivering electricity from the US-built nuclear power plants in India. They looked forward to advancing the dialogue to discuss all implementation issues, including but not limited to administrative issues, liability, technical issues, and licensing to facilitate the establishment of nuclear parks, including power plants with Westinghouse and GE-Hitachi technology. Recognising the critical importance of increasing energy access, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving resilience in the face of climate change, President Obama and Modi agreed to a new and enhanced strategic partnership on energy security, clean energy, and climate change. They agreed to strengthen and expand the highly successful U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) through a series of priority initiatives, including a new Energy Smart Cities Partnership to promote efficient urban energy infrastructure; a new program to scale-up renewable energy integration into India’s power grid; cooperation to support India’s efforts to upgrade its alternative energy institutes and to develop new innovation centers; an expansion of the Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) program to unlock additional private sector investment and accelerate the deployment of cost-effective, super-efficient appliances; and the formation of a new Clean Energy Finance Forum to promote investment and trade in clean energy projects.
Both leaders are committed to working towards a successful outcome in Paris in 2015 of the conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the creation of a new global agreement on climate change.
The leaders recalled previous bilateral and multilateral statements on the phase-down of Hydro Fluoro Carbons (HFCs). They recognised the need to use the institutions and expertise of the Montreal Protocol to reduce consumption and production of HFCs, while continuing to report and account for the quantities reduced under the UNFCCC. They also launched a new U.S.-India Climate Fellowship Program to build long-term capacity to address climate change-related issues in both countries.
The leaders welcomed the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Export-Import Bank and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, which would make up to $1 billion in financing available to bolster India’s efforts to transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient energy economy, while boosting U.S. renewable energy exports to India.
Defense and Homeland Security Cooperation : The two leaders reaffirmed that India and the United States would build an enduring partnership in which both sides treat each other at the same level as their closest partners, including defense technology transfers, trade, research, co-production, and co-development. The leaders welcomed the first meeting under the framework of the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative in September 2014 and endorsed its decision to establish a Task Force to expeditiously evaluate and decide on unique projects and technologies which would have a transformative impact on bilateral defense relations and enhance India”s defense industry and military capabilities.
They welcomed cooperation in the area of military education and training, and endorsed plans for the United States to cooperate with India”s planned National Defence University.
The leaders stressed the need for joint and concerted efforts, including the dismantling of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks, to disrupt all financial and tactical support for networks such as Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-Company, and the Haqqanis. They reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice. The President and the Prime Minister looked forward to easing travel between their two countries, as India introduces visa-on-arrival for U.S. citizens in 2015 and works toward meeting the requirements to make the United States’ Global Entry Program available to Indian citizens.
High Technology, Space and Health Cooperation : The two leaders confirmed, and they looked forward to renewing the Science and Technology Agreement in order to expand joint activities in innovative technology. The Prime Minister welcomed the United States as a partner country, for the first time, at India’s annual Technology Summit in November 2014. In addition, they committed to convene the ninth High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG). They plan to launch new partnerships to source and scale innovation for the benefit of citizens in both countries and to harness innovation to solve global development challenges.
The leaders committed to partner on the Digital India initiative, with the goal of enhancing digital infrastructure, deploying e-governance and e-services, promoting industry collaboration, and digitally empowering India’s citizens. The President welcomed India”s proposal to establish the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN, or Knowledge) under which India would invite and host up to 1,000 American academics each year to teach in centrally-recognised Indian Universities, at their convenience.
They welcomed the establishment and planned first meeting of the NASA-ISRO Mars Joint Working Group under the US-India Civil Space Joint Working Group. The leaders also look forward to the successful conclusion of a new agreement to support the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, to be launched in 2021. The leaders agreed to launch a new phase of the India-U.S. Vaccine Action Program to develop affordable vaccines for dengue, malaria, and tuberculosis, and the establishment of an adjuvant development center.
Global Issues and Regional Consultations : Highlighting their shared democratic values, the President and Prime Minister recognised the critical role that women play in India and the United States, as shown by India’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” (“Save Daughters, Celebrate Daughters, Educate Daughters”) initiative. They looked forward to holding a Women Empowerment Dialogue in order to exchange best practices to enhance the role of women in their countries, and they asserted zero tolerance for violence against women.
As a critical step in strengthening global nonproliferation and export control regimes, Obama and Modi committed to continue work towards India’s phased entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group. The President affirmed that India meets MTCR requirements and is ready for membership in the NSG.
The Prime Minister and the President reaffirmed their shared interest in preserving regional peace and stability, which are critical to the Asia Pacific region”s continued prosperity. The leaders expressed concern about rising tensions over maritime territorial disputes, and affirmed the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea.
India and the United States pledged to consult closely on global crises, especially unfolding events in Syria and Iraq. Recognising the importance of their respective strategic partnerships with Afghanistan, the leaders asserted the importance of a sustainable, inclusive, sovereign, and democratic political order in Afghanistan, and committed to continue close consultations and cooperation in support of Afghanistan’s future.
They stressed the need for diplomacy to resolve the serious concerns of the international community regarding Iran’s nuclear program, and called on Iran to comply with its UN Security Council-imposed obligations and to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The President thanked the Prime Minister for the gracious invitation to return to the great nation of India. In conclusion, the two leaders affirmed their long-term vision for a resilient and ambitious partnership through the first “Vision Statement for the Strategic Partnership,” which they will hold up as the guiding framework for their governments and people.