Ambassador Sandhu: Indian American community plays critical role in boosting India-US ties

India’s Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu lays out why India-US partnership could shape the century.

The US and India, world’s oldest and largest democracies, share a robust relationship with their bilateral trade standing at at $142 billion. As a major defense partner of the US, India is at the core of the US Indo-Pacific strategy.

Since 2000, every US president has visited India and every Indian Prime Minister has visited the US.  President Donald Trump who visited India in February and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who last came to the US in Sep 2019 share a close bonhomie.

However, experts say India-US strategic partnership has yet to reach its full potential. India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu laid out at a webinar in Washington Monday how their ties could be what President Barack Obama described as “a defining partnership of the 21st century.”

At an event hosted online by Washington think tank Hudson Institute, Sandhu spoke of how four million-strong Indian-American community along with over 200,000 Indian students and other professionals who work in the US are playing a critical role in this task.

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“There is much that the India-US partnership has achieved, and there is much more that remains to be done in the days ahead,” Sandhu said at the event hosted by the think tank’s director of India Initiative, Aparna Pande.

“As the world’s largest and oldest democracies, we are natural allies,” he said. ”Our partnership with the US is critical in translating India’s bold vision for development into a reality.

All major US Fortune 500 companies are among the 2,000 American companies that have invested in India, Sandhu noted. Similarly, over 200 Indian companies have invested more than $22 billion in the US economy creating more than 1,25,000 jobs in America.

Even covid-19 has boosted India-US partnership, Sandhu noted with Indian American healthcare workers leading the fight against the pandemic and their companies and institutions collaborating in vaccine development.

“Not only are Indian-American and Indian-origin doctors and healthcare professionals at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, but there are three ongoing partnerships in covid-19 vaccine development between companies and institutions of the two countries.” he said.

US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences has entered into an agreement with seven Indian companies to manufacture and distribute Remdesivir, a drug developed by it for treating covid-19.

As major defense partners with $21 billion in defense trade, the two nations support a free and open Indo-Pacific based on a rules-based order, based on ASEAN centrality, Sandhu said. They believe in freedom of navigation and peaceful settlement of disputes under the framework of international law.

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