Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

U.S. sees India as leading power in Indo-Pacific region: Kenneth

U.S. sees India as leading power in Indo-Pacific region: Kenneth

This was Juster's first policy speech since taking over as US Ambassador to India in November a year ago.

He also said although bilateral trade has reached $115 billion in 2016 from $20 billion in 2001, there is still plenty of room to expand the flow of goods and services in both directions and, in the process, for trade to become more reciprocal.

"India is a leading power in Indo-Pacific region and beyond".

The remarks by the American diplomat closely follow the Donald Trump administration's statement on January 8, that said it is not considering the proposal that would have caused a mass deportation of foreign workers by denying extensions to green card applicants whose applications were under process.

Taking the podium for the first time after his elevation as the US Ambassador to India, Kenneth Juster outlined an agenda for India-US ties that he himself described as "ambitious".

Adding that greater India-US trade will lead to increased capital flow and further transfer of intellectual know-how, he even speculated that eventually the two nations could sign a Free Trade Agreement.

After the nuclear deal and the growing defence and strategic relations between India and US, Juster believes the next big thing in the US-India relationship would be in the economic sphere, now the most troubled spot in bilateral relations. Here, he also made the only China reference in his speech as he said that many USA companies are looking for alternatives to China and India could seize the opportunity to be the hub for United States businesses in the region.

"We are concerned about persistent trade deficits, including the one we have with India".

On regional cooperation, Juster said India and USA have a strong interest in promoting peace, security, and prosperity in Afghanistan.

On the economic and commercial relations, Juster said that India can provide an alternative to the U.S. companies that downgrading their operations in China and looking alternative markets. "And that's not going to change", he said, the Hindustan Times reported. He said that they have made a significant mark on the American technology landscape, while also benefiting India.

Pivoting to science and technology, Juster called them the fourth pillar of the relationship and noted collaborations between ISRO and NASA as well as the joint strides in medical innovation. He spoke specifically about Afghanistan and emphasised the need to eliminate its reputation as a safe haven for terrorists.

However, most of the countries in the NSG have made it clear that India and Pakistan hold different reputations and the two should not be clubbed together.

"Pakistan is also important to the situation in Afghanistan".

"The United States will remain committed to this region - as we are to the rules-based global order - because our future is inextricably linked to it", he said.

Kenneth Juster, said, "The US is probably as open a country as any in the world and we probably take more immigrants per year compared to any other country. I don't think we are going to get stability and security in Afghanistan if Pakistan does not contribute positively to that".

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