WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 30, 2014) — The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the President of the United States of America Barack Obama met this morning. Marking their first bilateral summit, the President recognized the Prime Minister’s historic election victory in the largest democratic election ever held.
The White House Office of the Press Secretary said 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 emphasized the priority India accords to its partnership with the United States, a principal partner in the realization of India’s rise as a responsible, influential world power.
Given the shared values, people-to-people ties, and pluralistic traditions, President Obama recognized that India’s rise as a friend and partner is in the United States’ interest. 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 for the relationship, “Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go.”
The two leaders recognized that the bilateral relationship enjoys strong support in both countries, which has allowed the strategic partnership to flourish even as the governments change. Welcoming the wide range of collaborative activities undertaken to improve their citizens’ lives, both leaders agreed to revitalize the existing partnership and find new areas for collaboration and mutual benefit.
Noting that two-way trade has increased fivefold since 2001 to nearly $100 billion, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi committed to facilitate the actions necessary to increase trade another fivefold. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi recognized that U.S. 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-U.S. Investment Initiative led by the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Treasury, with special focus on capital market development and financing of infrastructure. They pledged to establish an Infrastructure Collaboration Platform convened by the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Commerce to enhance participation of U.S. companies in infrastructure projects in India.
In this context, the U.S. government welcomes India’s offer for U.S. industry to be the lead partner in developing smart cities in Ajmer (Rajasthan), Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh). The Prime Minister will welcome two trade missions in 2015 focused on meeting India’s infrastructure needs with U.S. technology and services.
They also committed to a new partnership to advance the Prime Minister’s goal of improved access to clean water and sanitation for all. USAID, through the Urban India Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Alliance, will serve as knowledge partner to help leverage private and civil society innovation, expertise, and technology, such as with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to support the Prime Minister’s 500 Cities National Urban Development Mission and Clean India Campaign.
The President welcomed the Prime Minister’s ambitious plan to extend basic financial services to all its citizens, giving them powerful tools to manage their finances and more fully participate in India’s growing economy. The President and Prime Minister underlined the important contribution that U.S. locomotive technology, equipment to monitor rail system assets, and U.S. best practices can play in modernizing India’s vast railway network, including accessing programs of U.S. Trade and Development Agency in this work.
The leaders discussed their concerns about the current impasse in the World Trade Organization and its effect on the multilateral trading system, and directed their officials to consult urgently along with other WTO members on the next steps. The leaders committed to work through the Trade Policy Forum to promote a business environment attractive for companies to invest and manufacture in India and in the United States. Agreeing on the need to foster innovation in a manner that promotes economic growth and job creation, the leaders committed to establish an annual high-level Intellectual Property (IP) Working Group with appropriate decision-making and technical-level meetings as part of the Trade Policy Forum. They recognized in particular the contribution of the Indian and U.S. Information Technology (IT) industry and the IT-enabled service industry in strengthening India-U.S. trade and investment relations.
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. In order to share best practices in manufacturing and work toward greater harmonization of standards, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership program will start a dialogue with Indian counterparts. The two countries plan to work expeditiously through several joint initiatives to facilitate greater confidence in cross-border trade and investment.
The President also offered to support the Prime Minister to achieve his goal of preparing young Indians for 21st century jobs through new partnerships to share expertise and global standards for skills development in India, including by reinvigorating the Higher Education Dialogue.
The leaders look forward to the annual U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership in early 2015. They also welcomed the expansion of the partnership in oversight of financial institutions, including between Reserve Bank of India and the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency. They also agreed to reinvigorate the India-U.S. CEO Forum, and welcomed India’s offer to host the Forum for the second time in early 2015.
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 realize early their shared goal of delivering electricity from U.S.-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.
Recognizing the critical importance of increasing energy access, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving resilience in the face of climate change, President Obama and Prime Minister 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 hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). They recognized 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 pledged to urgently arrange a meeting of their bilateral task force on HFCs prior to the next meeting of the Montreal Protocol to discuss issues such as safety, cost, and commercial access to new or alternative technologies to replace HFCs. The two sides would thereafter cooperate on next steps to tackle the challenge posed by HFCs to global warming.
They launched a new U.S.-India Partnership for Climate Resilience to advance capacity for climate adaptation planning, and a new program of work on air quality aimed at delivering benefits for climate change and human health.
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 President and Prime Minister instructed their senior officials to work through the U.S.-India Energy Dialogue, U.S.-India Joint Working Group on Combating Climate Change, and other relevant fora to advance these and other initiatives.
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. The two leaders reiterated the importance of conserving India’s precious biodiversity and agreed to explore opportunities for collaboration on national parks and wildlife conservation.
High Technology, Space and Health Cooperation
Fundamental science and high technology cooperation has been a critical pillar of the strategic partnership, 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 President welcomed India’s contribution and cooperation on high-energy physics and accelerator research and development with the U.S. Department of Energy. The President thanked the Prime Minister for his offer to have U.S. institutions partner with a new Indian Institute of Technology.
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-recognized Indian Universities, at their convenience.
The two leaders exchanged congratulations on the successful entry into orbit of their respective Mars missions, which occurred two days apart. They welcomed the establishment and planned first meeting of the NASA-ISRO Mars Joint Working Group under the U.S.-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 United and India also intend to start a new dialogue on maintaining long-term security and sustainability of the outer space environment, including space situational awareness and collision avoidance in outer space.