Resurging India Driving Optimism Across South Asia: US

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Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal told US lawmakers during a Congressional hearing, “If there is one overarching positive trend that is driving the energy and optimism across South Asia, it is the resurgence of India as evidenced by their vibrant election last year, which was the largest such democratic exercise in history.” The US has said India’s resurgence under Modi’s leadership was propelling energy and optimism all across South Asia and the two nations are now indispensable partners in promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

She said, “Less than a year after the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, our relations with India are stronger than ever.” US President Brack Obama's Republic Day visit to India was "critical not only for the symbolism but also for the important outcomes in advancing our strategic partnership, deepening security cooperation, revitalizing the economic partnership, and advancing critical clean energy and environmental goals," said Biswal.

India needed to be strong at home to become a strong partner in the region and around the world. She counted the agreements reached between Obama and Modi to strengthen the India-US partnership on economy, women empowerment, human rights and governance fronts, Biswal added.

"The President and Prime Minister Modi agreed to elevate our commercial and economic partnership as part of the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue to advance our shared prosperity. Our countries have resumed discussions on a Bilateral Investment Treaty, which, if realized, would provide enormous benefits and necessary protections to US companies," she said.

"They also committed in Delhi to restart the Global Issues Forum and our bilateral dialogue on women's empowerment, which can help our two countries tackle key governance and human rights issues to ensure that India's development is inclusive and sustainable," she added. Biswal said the US was optimistic that challenges to creating the investment climate and innovation economy that will power India's growth in the 21st century can be overcome. She said the new Indian government had energized the bilateral ties and the two countries were now essential partners in promoting peace, prosperity, and stability across the Indo-Pacific region.

"As we have energized bilateral relations with the new Indian government, there can be no doubt about the strength of our joint strategic vision. Our two countries are indispensable partners in promoting peace, prosperity, and stability across the Indo-Pacific region. We are drivers of growth across the region and around the world," she said.

"We are net providers of security, together ensuring freedom of navigation and safeguarding the maritime domain. These values are clearly enshrined in two new documents: our Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region and the Delhi Declaration of Friendship, leaving no doubt about our commitment to a peaceful, prosperous, democratic, and stable Asia," Biswal said.

During the presidents India visit in January this year, the US also secured forward movement on issues that were holding up its ability to advance civil-nuclear cooperation with India, she said.

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