"[The world has] moved from a transatlantic century to a transpacific century, in which the rise of Asia has already started to define the 21st century," said Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs in a speech in late January. "India of course plays a critical role in Asia’s ascent."
From the brink of bankruptcy 20 years ago, India enacted bold economic reforms that shifted the economy away from protectionism and the ‘license raj’ [elaborate licenses, regulations and accompanying red tape that were required to set up and run businesses in India between 1947 and 1990] and toward a highly dynamic one fueled by innovation and free trade that leverages the extraordinary talents of the Indian people.
And so, India began an extraordinary rise while embracing the humanity of Mahatma Gandhi and the many attributes of a diverse, pluralistic democracy. Its gross domestic product has increased ten-fold in those 20 years since the bailout. Today, its economy is growing at an annual rate of eight to nine percent, thanks largely to a technologically-advanced services sector driven by innovation, education and free markets.
"[The Obama Administration] came into office determined to take US-India relations to the next level," said Assistant Secretary Blake. "They have done so through the establishment of the first Strategic Dialogue between our two countries, and through President [Barack] Obama’s landmark visit to India last November."
That Presidential trip was a "watershed, when the U.S. and India embarked for the first time on concrete initiatives to develop our global strategic partnership," said Assistant Secretary Blake. The two leaders agreed to cooperate on a wide spectrum of endeavors, including education, space exploration, clean energy development, and human security, including food security. In addition, President Obama endorsed India for permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council. This endorsement reflects the President’s confidence in India’s rise and the positive role it is increasingly playing as a partner in advancing global security and prosperity.
"As two of the world’s leading democracies and market economies," said Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, "as countries who are committed to promoting pluralism, diversity, tolerance, enterprise, innovation and opportunity, and as countries who are willing to take responsibility for mobilizing responses to the world’s challenges, the U.S. and India together can profoundly influence the future of our peoples as well as the course of this new century before us."