Just six months ago, President Obama came to Delhi as the Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, and 10 years ago this month, the United States and India launched our historic cooperation on civil nuclear technology. Over this decade, our relationship with India has soared. Our partnership is broader and deeper than it has ever been before. We are working on over 80 initiatives coming out of the President’s visit, and we’ve launched or reinvigorated over 30 working groups since Prime Minister Modi visited Washington last September.
In light of this historic cooperation, I am providing you with further background on the growth of the relationship between our countries. I recently co-wrote an op-ed with my friend, Arun Singh, the Indian Ambassador to the United States, explaining how India and the United States, working together, will be a powerful force for peace and prosperity in the 21st Century, available here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arun-k-singh-/india-and-the-us-partnering_b_7814248.html
Our Embassy team also prepared a short video blog documenting our last six months of progress and activities here in India. It’s been a busy time, as you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1ziTGySLsc
If you want to know our stance on a wide range of issues, from climate change to defense cooperation to commercial matters, you can find a collection of speeches and remarks on our Embassy website: http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov/speeches_and_remarks.html
Finally, my Embassy team and I have reflected on this decade of growth since we launched our negotiations for the landmark U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement, and we collected some facts and figures that might help put in perspective how far the United States and India have come. I would like to share a few of these highlights and illustrative facts and figures:
- S. investments in India have grown significantly – from a total of $7.7 billion in 2004 to $28 billion today. Over the past few years, India has become the fourth fastest growing source of foreign direct investment into the United States.
- Two-way trade has nearly tripled from $36 billion in 2005 to $104 billion in 2014, as we work towards $500 billion in trade.
- Today, there are over 500 U.S. companies active in India, while the number of Indian companies operating in the United States has increased from roughly 85 companies in 2005 to over 200 companies today.
- Travel for tourism, business, and education has skyrocketed: We have seen a 152% increase in overall visa applications for Indians wishing to travel to the U.S. from 398,931 in fiscal year 2005 to 1,007,811 since this fiscal year started in October 2014. Visa applications for Indian students have seen the strongest increase, of 202% (30,513 in FY 2005 to 92,156 in FY 2015). U.S. visitors to India have nearly doubled from 611,165 visitors in 2005 to 1,123,444 in 2015.
- Ten years ago, the United States and India barely conducted any defense trade. Over the last few years, the United States has signed approximately $10 billion in defense sales to India. Our defense cooperation has helped promote India’s role as a security provider in the Indian Ocean region with direct benefit to third countries. For example, the Indian Air Force used C-130s and C-17 aircraft to evacuate Indian and third country nationals from Yemen and speed relief supplies to Nepal after a devastating earthquake.
- S. and Indian businesses have partnered on the co-development of defense equipment, establishing a base from which to launch new Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) co-development and co-production efforts in the future and expand the Indian defense industrial base.
- The complexity of military exercises has increased in the last 10 years. The annual bilateral training exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ has grown from a squad and platoon-level exercise to a company/battalion-level maneuver exercise, including a brigade-level computer simulation exercise where the U.S. and Indian Armies operate together. This year, the U.S.-India naval exercise ‘Malabar’ will welcome the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force for the second consecutive year, along with other countries.
- In 2015, India-U.S. bilateral agricultural and food trade is on track to quintuple in value compared to 2005, exceeding $6 billion. Due in part to sustained USDA Cooperator marketing activities and USDA programs, U.S. agricultural exports to India are poised to achieve a new record high in 2015.
- Since 2005 USDA has sponsored 112 Indian agricultural researchers under the Borlaug Fellowship Program, and 79 fellows under the Cochran Fellowship Program. These figures include 21 participants in the two programs for 2015.
- Indian students account for the second-largest group of foreign students in the United States, with approximately 102,673 students studying in the United States in 2013-14. At the same time, a growing number of Americans are choosing to study abroad in India, with over 4,000 students in India during academic year 2012-13. These students advance innovation and research in our universities and in their communities when they return home.
- The Fulbright-Nehru program has nearly tripled in size since 2009, when the program became truly binational with joint funding for exchanges, with approximately 300 Indian and U.S. students and scholars now participating annually. Since 1950, the United States-India Education Foundation (USIEF) has awarded approximately 9,962 Fulbright grants in a full range of academic disciplines. USIEF has also administered 8,634 other awards, including the U.S. Department of Education’s Fulbright-Hays and the East-West Center grants, for a total of over 18,500 awards in the last 65 years.
- Since 1993, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has assigned experts to World Health Organization’s (WHO) regional and country offices in India to support surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases. Through this active collaboration, in 2014, India was certified as polio-free and the CDC continues to work with Indian researchers to strengthen the national immunization program and accelerate control of measles and rubella.
- In 2012, the CDC, through their Global Disease Detection India Center, located at India’s National Centre for Disease Control, helped establish the India Epidemic Intelligence Service program (EIS) – a post graduate field training program modeled after the US EIS – which will help promote public health and support the necessary health workforce to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.
- India is the second largest exporter of pharmaceuticals to the United States. In FY 2014, India held a 13% share of the total 64,170 imported lines of pharmaceuticals.
- Cooperation on space science has soared to new levels – from collaboration on projects that measure aspects of Earth’s oceans and global precipitation, to recent success on a mission to Mars, to working jointly on a satellite project that will help scientists understand climate change and natural disasters. Our scientists and space organizations continue to look for new areas on which to collaborate.
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Thank you and best wishes,
Richard R. Verma