Secretary Clinton opened the plenary session of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue with Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna in the Ben Franklin Room at the U.S. Department of State today.
Senior officials from across the U.S. and Indian governments, including Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke; FBI Director Robert Mueller; Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman; USAID Administrator Raj Shah; Dr. John Holdren, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House; Deputy National Security Advisor Mike Froman; and U.S. Ambassador to India Tim Roemer, participated in the plenary. Secretary Clinton said:
"We meet at a pivotal moment. For nearly two decades, India and the United States have worked intensively to build a strong, positive relationship, one that has delivered benefits to Indians, Americans, and people worldwide. This dialogue is an effort to build on that history and deepen our cooperation so that we can together solve common challenges and evoke the full talent and energy of our people.
"Now, while this dialogue marks a new stage in the U.S.-India partnership, it is rooted in exchanges already taking place. Our governments collaborate on nearly any issue you can name, from fighting terrorism to empowering women to eradicating disease to monitoring the weather to improve crop forecasting. Last year, $66 billion in trade flowed between our nations, more than 10 times our trade level in 1990. And the United States is very proud to be home to nearly three million Americans of Indian descent, one of the fastest-growing and most accomplished immigrant communities in our country, as evidenced by Administrator Shah, who you will hear from later.
"Indeed, India holds a very special place in the hearts of many Americans, including me. My first trip to India 15 years ago was a transforming experience for me and for my daughter, and then for my husband when he was able to go in the year 2000. I've returned since, including last July, to witness for myself India's cutting-edge leadership in energy, agriculture, education, and business.
"Today, the United States stands with India, not only because of what India means to us, but what India contributes to -- and represents to -- the world. We've said it many times, but it cannot be said too often: India is the world's largest democracy, its second-fastest growing economy, and a rising power, not only in Asia but globally. It has vibrant democratic institutions, a very free press, a robust civil society, and an innovative private sector. It is also a model of democratic development that is lifting millions of people out of poverty by widening access to tools of opportunity, such as education, health care, food, water, and jobs.
"India's rise is a defining storyline of the early 21st century. And the U.S.-India partnership will help shape the rest of this century. To quote Prime Minister Singh during his recent visit to Washington in November, 'As two leading democracies, India and the United States must play a leading role in building a shared destiny for all humankind.' Well, Prime Minister Singh said it beautifully. And that mission is worthy of our best efforts. To fulfill it, we must not only build on areas of agreement but, frankly, address doubts that remain on both sides, doubts among some Indians that the United States only sees India or mainly sees India in the context of Afghanistan and Pakistan, or that we will hasten our departure from Afghanistan, leaving India to deal with the aftermath; doubts in America that India has not fully embraced its role in regional and global affairs or will not make the economic reforms needed to foster additional progress."
Read the Secretary's full remarks with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna here.