New Delhi [India]: Underlining the importance of strengthening the commercial and economic pillars between India-US, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday (April 21) noted that both countries are expanding engagements in critical and emerging domains of defence and exhorted companies to take advantage of policy initiatives in India to steadily march from ‘Make in India’ towards ‘Make for the World’.
Rajnath made these remarks at the American Chamber of Commerce in India’s (AMCHAM) Annual General Meeting.
This event took place in the backdrop of the recently concluded 2+2 dialogue, during which the Defence Minister stated the positive conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden has enabled both nations to look forward to more ambitious and strategic engagements.
During his US visit, the minister said he received a positive response from American leadership for co-development, co-production and investments in research and industry in India.
Talking about the 2+2 dialogue, Rajnath said both countries have decided to expand engagements in some of the critical and emerging domains of defence. “We have concluded the critically important MoU on Space Situational Awareness, to open doors to new engagements in space.”
Noting the common vision of the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, the minister said, “India-US have a growing convergence of strategic interests as both countries seek a resilient, rules-based international order, that safeguards sovereignty and territorial integrity, upholds democratic values and promotes peace and prosperity for all.”
He further said India-US Global Strategic Partnership is based on multifaceted cooperation. “Prime Minister Modi and President Biden are committed to strengthening US-India cooperation on clean energy, technology, defence engagements and to expanding economic and people-to-people ties,” added the minister.
“I want to underline the importance of strengthening the commercial and economic pillar of the India-US partnership to advance economic growth and deliver mutual prosperity for both the countries,” he added.
Terming India-US economic ties as one of the defining business relationships of the 21st century, the minister said there has been a rebound in bilateral trade between the two countries over the last year, surpassing USD 113 billion in goods.
“In the context of this increasing trade, the India-US Trade Policy Forum discussions to expand bilateral trade, remove market access barriers, and improve ease of business become increasingly important,” he added.
The Defence Minister also informed that the Modi government is looking to reconvene the India-US Commercial Dialogue and the CEO Forum this year to enhance economic cooperation and boost commercial ties.”
Speaking on the defence pillar of the US-India relationship, the minister said, “It is built on foundational bilateral agreements, military to military engagements, cooperation on the enhancement of defence capabilities and now a new emphasis on co-development and co-production.”
At the 2+2 Ministerial meeting, Rajnath Singh said India confirmed its intent to advance cooperation in Critical and Emerging Technologies such as advanced communication technology, artificial intelligence, quantum science, STEM, semiconductors and biotechnology.
“We want to work together for the exchange of best practices and development of technology to enable affordable deployment and commercialisation of the CET,” he added.
Stating that 2022 is a landmark year for India-US science and technology collaboration, Defence Minister said this year would see the establishment of an India-US Joint Commission on Science and Technology, the India-U.S. Cyber Dialogue, convening of the next India-U.S. Civil Space JWG.
“In a decade, starting from a negligible base, defence supplies from the US have exceeded USD 20 billion. With increasing business, we aspire for increased investments by the US defence companies in India under the ‘Make in India’ programme.”
In the spirit of the Prime Minister’s vision of “Aatmanirbharta”, the minister said India’s focus is on developing our domestic capabilities and helping to ensure reliable defence supplies.
“I exhort companies to take advantage of policy initiatives in India to steadily march from ‘Make in India’ towards ‘Make for the World’. This includes co-production, co-development, investment promotion, and the development of MRO facilities in India,” he said.
“Participation of the US entities in joint research and development, and industrial collaboration with Indian public and private sectors will be important for the success of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and for further strengthening the India-US relationship,” he added.
As India-US move forward to strengthen their relationship, Rajnath emphasised the need to move from a buyer-seller relationship to one of partner nations and business partners.
“I think, India and the United States are uniquely poised to leverage each other’s strengths for a win-win model in the coming years,” he added. (ANI)