India and the United States held the second India-U.S. Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in New Delhi today. External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry of India Nirmala Sitharaman co-chaired the dialogue with U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
The Sides expressed deep satisfaction at the expanded and strengthened course of bilateral engagement in recent times and reiterated their shared commitment to advance mutual prosperity, global peace, and stability. The Sides reviewed the progress made in the implementation of decisions taken in the recent Summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama in June 2016 in Washington, DC and looked forward to continued engagement for further strengthening of bilateral ties.
The Sides noted that the deepening strategic partnership between the United States and India is rooted in shared values of freedom, democracy, universal human rights, tolerance and pluralism, equal opportunities for all citizens, and rule of law.
Strategic, Defense & Security
Reiterating that defense ties form the bedrock of the bilateral strategic partnership, the two Sides recognized the importance of the announcement regarding India as a Major Defense Partner of the United States and decided to take further steps expeditiously to enable greater cooperation in the area of co-production and co-development. To this end, the United States committed to elevate defense trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with its closest allies and partners. They appreciated the progress made in collaboration in the defense sector during the ongoing visit of India’s Defense Minister to the United States.
The Sides noted the ongoing progress on the Engineers and Scientists Exchange Programme (ESEP) Agreement between India and the United States, which would further strengthen bilateral co-operation in defense research. They noted the recent meetings of the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) and the Joint Technical Group (JTG) held in July 2016 and looked forward to the early convening of other meetings under the DTTI and Defense Policy Group dialogue structure.
Recognizing the growing threats and challenges in cyberspace and the serious risks to national security from malicious cyber activity, both Sides reaffirmed working together to promote cyber security, combat cyber-crime, advance norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, improve cooperation among technical and law enforcement agencies, and promote cyber R&D and capacity building. In this context, they welcomed the signing of the Framework for the India-U.S. Cyber Relationship.
The Sides reiterated their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and reaffirmed their commitment to dismantle safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks such as Da’esh/ISIL, Al-Qa’ida, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company and its affiliates and the Haqqani Network. The Sides called on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice. The Sides will continue to review and consider other organizations that warrant terrorist designations including those that engage in cross-border terrorism. The Sides resolved to build on the 2015 Joint Declaration on Combating Terrorism by expanding their practical cooperation to increase capacity to address the worldwide terrorist threat. The Sides noted the discussions held on the full range of Counter Terrorism issues during the India-U.S. Counter Terrorism Joint Working Group meeting held in July 2016 in Washington, DC, welcoming initiatives to expeditiously exchange terrorist screening information, enhance coordination on proposed UN designations of terrorist entities, and expedite mutual legal assistance requests. The Sides are developing more joint Counter Terrorism exchanges, programs, and initiatives to deepen the bilateral partnership.
The Sides reaffirmed their support for a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that advances and strengthens the framework for global cooperation to counter terrorism and reinforces that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.
Reflecting shared objectives in combating the threat from terrorists accessing and using nuclear and other radiological materials, the Sides reaffirmed commitments made at the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC.
Reemphasizing their commitment to enhance bilateral cooperation between their law enforcement agencies, the Sides looked forward to the next round of the India-U.S. Homeland Security Dialogue in the fall of this year.
Regional Consultations and Global Issues
India and the United States reaffirmed their support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member. Both Sides committed to ensuring that the Security Council continues to play an effective role in maintaining international peace and security as envisioned in the UN Charter. The Sides committed to continued engagement on Security Council reform in the UN Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council Reform. The two Sides look forward to discussing these issues in further detail at the upcoming dialogue on UN and multilateral issues.
Recognizing the centrality of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security and the ongoing bilateral engagement on UN peacekeeping capacity-building efforts in third countries, the Sides noted with satisfaction the successful staging of the 1st United Nations Peacekeeping Course for African Partners (UNPCAP-1) held in New Delhi in July-August 2016, which was jointly organized by the Centre for UN Peacekeeping of India and the Global Peace Operations Initiative of the United States.
The Sides reaffirmed their commitment to work together as priority partners in the Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean region in accordance with the roadmap for cooperation under the India-U.S. Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region. In this regard, they welcomed the convening of the inaugural Maritime Security Dialogue in May 2016 and engagement on maritime domain awareness, including through a White Shipping Agreement. They also decided to strengthen cooperation in the area of connectivity.
In the context of recent developments, the Sides stressed the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation, freedom of overflight, and unimpeded lawful commerce throughout the region, including in the South China Sea. They urged the utmost respect for international law, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They reiterated that States should resolve disputes through peaceful means, and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability.
In a further effort to strengthen global non-proliferation and export controls, the Sides committed to redouble their efforts towards India’s early entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The United States urged Participating Governments to support India’s candidacy in their common interest. The United States also re-affirmed its support for India’s early membership of the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.
Underlining the importance of ongoing strategic consultations between the two countries, the sides welcomed the 2nd round of High Level Consultations between Foreign Secretary Jaishankar and Deputy Secretary of State Blinken held in July 2016 in Washington, DC, and looked forward to further engagements.
Reflecting on progress already made towards enhanced triangular cooperation, the Sides reaffirmed their commitment to work together and leverage their combined capacities to assist other developing countries, and address global development challenges for the benefit of the wider region and the world. This includes expanded collaboration in the areas of health, energy, agriculture, and women’s empowerment. The Sides lauded the recent launch of the second phase of the Feed the Future India Triangular Training Program by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare of India and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that brings specialized agriculture training to 1,500 agricultural professionals from countries across Africa and Asia. The Sides look forward to the next round of bilateral consultations on Africa later this year.
The United States pledged support for India to take a leading role in multilateral fora for strengthening global peace and stability. In this regard, the Sides looked forward to convening the second round of consultations on multilateral issues.
Reflecting the shared commitment to promoting economic growth and development in South Asia, the Sides look forward to strengthen cooperation in the area of regional integration and connectivity in South Asia, including through possible collaboration with the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The Sides noted the recent meeting of India-U.S.-Japan Trilateral dialogue held in Tokyo in June 2016 and urged their officials to work expeditiously towards areas identified for cooperation under regional connectivity and Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR) working groups.
The Sides noted that it is a matter of deep concern that violence and terrorism continue in Afghanistan. They called for sustained commitment and support of the international community for a stable, democratic, united, sovereign, and prosperous Afghanistan. The sides welcomed the convening of the India-U.S.-Afghanistan Trilateral in New York later this year.
Climate, Energy and Environment
In light of the commitment by Prime Minister Modi and President Obama to strengthen and expand the highly successful U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Deployment (PACE-D), and underscoring the vital importance of expanding access to public and private financing for clean energy development in order to enhance energy access and sustainable development, the Sides welcomed the progress on clean energy initiatives announced during the recent Summit. The Sides recognized their collective efforts to advance the U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) initiative, the U.S.-India Clean Energy Hub, the expansion of USAID programme for Utility-level support and the U.S.-India Catalytic Solar Finance Program, which will collectively mobilize public and private capital towards clean energy solutions.
Recognizing the advanced progress of the U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance Task Force (Task Force), the Sides announced their intent to expand the Task Force’s work to include new clean energy finance initiatives for joint collaboration.
Recognizing the U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy R&D Center initiatives for technological innovation in clean energy, the two sides appreciated the expansion of the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research (PACE-R) through a fourth track on smart grid and energy storage technologies. The Sides noted the progress under the “Greening the Grid” initiative and collaboration for training of Indian professionals in the area of large scale integration of renewable energy into the Indian grid. Both governments reiterated their commitment to doubling their Clean Energy R&D Investment towards fulfillment of the objectives of Mission Innovation, resolved to increased cooperation between national labs, and announced the creation of the PACE Fellowship.
The United States affirmed its support for pursuing its membership of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), recognizing the critical role it can play in the development and deployment of solar power.
The sides also recognized the continued significance of efficient power generation technologies to address the challenges of climate change.
The Sides noted the progress made in bilateral civil nuclear cooperation and applauded continued engagement between Westinghouse and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. toward finalizing the contractual arrangements by June 2017 to build six AP 1000 reactors that will provide clean, reliable energy to millions of people in India. They also looked forward to the immediate commencement of work on engineering and site design and the early conclusion of a competitive financing package based on the joint work by India and the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
The Sides resolved to work towards the early finalization of the MOU between Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) of India and Bureau of Oceans Energy Management (BOEM) of the United States for cooperation in the field of unconventional hydrocarbon research. They resolved to work for early finalization of the proposed MOU between NTPC Ltd. of India and National Energy Technology Laboratory of the United States for cooperation in the field of Fossil Energy Technologies.
The Sides reaffirmed their commitment to combat climate change and its effects. They reiterated their resolve to work together and with others to promote full implementation of the Paris Agreement to address the urgent threats posed by climate change. India and the United States recognize the urgency of climate change and share the goal of enabling entry into force of the Paris Agreement as early as possible. The United States re-stated that it will join the Paris Agreement as soon as possible this year. India has similarly begun its processes to work towards this shared objective. The Sides reiteratedtheir commitment to pursue low greenhouse gas emission development strategies in the pre-2020 period and to develop long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies. The United States also remains committed, with other developed countries, to the goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation and adaptation action.
In addition, the two countries resolved to continue to work together to adopt a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) amendment in 2016 with increased financial support from donor countries to the Multilateral Fund to help developing countries with implementation, and an ambitious phasedown schedule, under the Montreal Protocol pursuant to the Dubai Pathway.
The leaders resolved to work together at the International Civil Aviation Organisation Assembly to reach a successful outcome to address greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation. Further, the two countries resolved to pursue under the leadership of the G-20 strong outcomes to promote improved heavy duty vehicle standards and efficiency in accordance with their national priorities and capabilities.
The Sides recognised the progress achieved through the first three years of the Joint Working Group on Combating Climate Change. The Sides noted progress and opportunities in the bilateral cooperation on resilience, air quality, forestry and science and technology fellowships under the Joint Working Group.
Recognizing the need to play a leadership role to protect the iconic elephant from extinction due to rampant poaching and ivory trafficking, the Sides expressed joint support for a resolution that calls on Parties to implement domestic bans on the trade in elephant ivory at the September Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of Parties. The Sides also expressed joint support for increased CITES protections of pangolin species ranging from Africa to Asia, whose populations have been decimated due to wildlife trafficking, and reiterated their joint commitment to protect India’s tiger population.
Commerce, Economy, and Growth
The Sides noted that the strong commercial ties have defined the growing partnership between India and the United States. In an otherwise sluggish global economy, bilateral trade between India and the United States has held steady, and bilateral investment flows have grown over the last two years. The Sides noted the significantly increased Government-to- Government engagement on economic and commercial topics undertaken in the past year under the S&CD. They noted the value of engagement in building mutual confidence and the capability to address problems and pursue opportunities constructively for mutual benefit. They resolved to continue to institutionalize and use the S&CD to elevate their ambitions and accomplishments in mutual trade and investment.
The Sides noted the recommendations of the U.S.-India CEO Forum held earlier today and acknowledged the crucial role of the Forum in strengthening our partnership on commercial and trade related issues. They acknowledged the value of closely integrating the CEO Forum with the Commercial track of the S&CD. They appreciated the follow-up action by various Government departments and agencies on the recommendations made by the CEO Forum in 2015. In line with the CEO Forum recommendations, a number of concrete measures have been undertaken. The new Defence Procurement Procedure of the Government of India enhances the ability of the private sector to tap into the opportunities for defence production in India. Already, joint collaboration on two new defence projects on digital helmet mounted displays and the joint biological tactical detection system has been undertaken. The Sides noted the establishment of a National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF) by the Government of India. The Sides acknowledged the productive U.S.-India CEO Forum-led Digital Infrastructure Best Practices Exchange Workshops, and encouraged participation by all stakeholders in the regional Global Connect Conference to be held on September 15, 2016.
Recognizing the importance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to spur growth and create jobs, the Sides committed to creating a platform for sharing of best practices and technology, in addition to access to finance to promote integration of these SMEs in global value chains.
Recognizing the important contributions of Indian companies to the U.S. economy, the United States welcomed nearly 80 Indian delegates to the 2016 Select USA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. The United States announced a Select USA Road show to India in March 2017. Similarly, Invest India, India’s investment promotion and facilitation agency, which facilitates U.S. companies investing in India, will also be organising Investor Road shows in the United States.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The Sides expressed satisfaction at the progress made by the work stream on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The Sides noted that India’s ranking moved up 15 places this year in the Global Innovation Index. They noted the private sector led Innovation Forum held on August 29, 2016, and believe that it will actively engage with stakeholders from both sides to support the eco-system of innovation across sectors. The Sides resolved to facilitate engagement between innovation hubs in sectors like life sciences, while strengthening ties with academic institutions. They resolved to facilitate linkages between innovation hubs in India and the United States, with the private sector also playing a leading role.
Taking note of the Government of India’s “Startup India” initiative launched in 2016 to foster greater entrepreneurship and innovation, the Sides committed to further collaboration between Indian and U.S. startups, venture capitalists and other stakeholders. The Sides also look forward to co-hosting the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India, which will bring together entrepreneurs, investors, educators, government officials and business representatives from around the world, creating new opportunities for investments, partnerships and collaborations. To move forward on this engagement, the Sides signed a Statement of Intent to Co-Host GES 2017.
The Government of India plans to launch an initiative which deploys leading Indian entrepreneurs to advance Startup India and inspire the next generation of successful innovators. The Sides also noted President Obama’s U.S. Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship Initiative, about which the U.S. side intends to share information.
Ease of Doing Business
The Sides expressed satisfaction at the useful exchange of information and best practices on improving the ease of doing business (EODB). The Sides noted India’s EODB initiatives, such as the passage of the bill on Goods and Services Tax, the launch of a single-window clearance system by the Customs authorities, establishment of commercial courts, enactment of a new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, development of an e-market portal for government procurement, as well as efforts by Indian States to implement business climate reforms. The Sides resolved to continue to exchange information and discuss best practices on trade facilitation, licensing and permitting, insolvency, public procurement, transparency and other relevant topics. In addition, they announced the launch of an EODB Private Sector Outreach Series, to raise industry awareness of key economic policy developments and gather feedback from stakeholders. The Sides also resolved to launch a ‘U.S.-India State Spotlight Webinar Series’ to highlight business opportunities and key EODB reforms in select U.S. and Indian States for private sector stakeholders. This engagement with States would lead to mutual trade and investment opportunities, and further explore ways to better integrate businesses from India and the United States into global supply chains to enhance trade.
To encourage the broader adoption of value-based procurement methodologies in India’s civil sector, the Sides resolved to take forward an MOU between the Indian Department of Expenditure and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), and also look at the best practices of USTDA’s Global Procurement Initiative.
The Sides encouraged the partnership for the Cluster Mapping Initiative between the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Harvard Business School to create a compatible national cluster map as an avenue for strategic collaboration using data to identify industry clusters and help civic leaders develop better and more tailored economic strategies.
Smart Cities Cooperation
The Sides appreciated the ongoing cooperation on Smart Cities between Indian and U.S. Government agencies. Recognizing the success of the ongoing smart city collaboration in Visakhapatnam, the Sides resolved to launch a follow-on phase that will deliver an integrated master plan. The Sides resolved to continue reverse trade missions from the MOU partner cities (Ajmer, Allahabad and Vishakhapatnam) to look at smart solutions for their respective cities. The Sides looked forward to working on the Plan of Action developed for mutual technical cooperation for issuance of municipal bonds by Pune.
Travel, Tourism, and People-to-People Ties
Underlining the contribution of the Indian and U.S. private sectors in strengthening bilateral trade and investment, the Sides resolved to facilitate the movement of professionals, experts, and scientific personnel into their respective countries. They also resolved to continue their engagement on the elements required in both countries in order to pursue a bilateral totalization agreement.
Welcoming the addition of travel and tourism as a new work stream under the Commercial track of the S&CD, the Sides outlined the broad parameters for continued engagement as part of the 2017 Travel and Tourism Partnership announced during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States in June 2016. Recognizing their mutual goal of strengthening tourism and people-to-people ties, the Sides intend to renew efforts for enhanced cooperation in promoting two-way tourism. They noted the potential of this engagement to advance bilateral trade in travel and tourism services, including through the sharing of best practices and organising promotional activities in this sector. Potential topics for engagement include best practices in tourism administration and marketing, public-private partnerships, travel and tourism statistics, diversification of travel and tourism expertise, niche markets, and promotional activities.
Noting the progress made by the Standards work stream, the Sides welcomed the positive engagement between the Indian National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The cooperation initiated on reference materials and in the area of standards and metrology is a welcome step and the Sides resolved to continue the discussion and support the agencies involved for their active engagement. They also welcomed the proposed visit of a delegation of experts from India for an interaction with the NIST scientists and experts. The Sides welcomed the collaboration between NIST and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on sharing of best practices on WTO-Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) enquiry points. The progress of the MOU between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was noted and the Sides looked forward to launching of an Indian standards portal before the end of 2016, and similar development of a standard portal on the U.S. side. The Sides also looked forward to collaborative events and programmes for promoting standards in the areas identified in the MOU in 2017. Noting the growing relevance of voluntary consensus standards to trade and commerce, it was resolved to engage interested private sector stakeholders, from both sides in cooperative dialogues to address bilateral standards-related trade barriers.
The Sides also resolved to collaborate on exchange of best practices in trade remedies between the respective administrative authorities.
Transportation Sector Cooperation
The Sides welcomed initiatives identified to further strengthen our bilateral transportation partnership during the visit of the Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping to the United States in July 2016, and Minister of Railways in January 2016. These initiatives and activities will take place under the framework of the U.S.-India Transportation Partnership established by a 2015 Memorandum of Cooperation.
Reiterating their mutual commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation in trade and commerce, the Sides looked forward to the next round of the Ministerial Trade Policy Forum which is to meet later this year in New Delhi. They recognized that the ongoing cooperation under this forum has contributed to the shared objective of increasing bilateral trade.
Science and Technology
The Sides emphasized the importance of science and technology and innovation for economic development and wellbeing of people in both countries. Considering that the bi-national Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) has played a successful role in catalysing and supporting the current level of the multifaceted S&T relationship, both Sides resolved to continue scaling effective technologies locally and globally through various USAID mechanisms and to seek to augment funding of the IUSSTF in order to scale up its activities, including through external fundraising such as from Corporate Social Responsibility. The Sides also announced the convening of the India-U.S. Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology in Washington, DC later this year to review progress made and advance cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation, and empowering women to pursue careers in STEM fields.
The Sides recognized the successful collaborations in high energy physics that led to advances in accelerator technology. They decided to expand the cooperative activities in other frontier areas of science.
They noted with satisfaction that the charter for the Joint Oversight Group (JOG) for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project in India has been signed and the final site for establishing the LIGO project in India identified. Further, the Sides appreciated that vacuum systems designs are mature and the prototyping work of the vacuum and optical components of the detector system will soon commence in India.
The Sides looked forward to participating in the Our Ocean Conference in September 2016 and to the inaugural Oceans Dialogue to promote sustainable development of the ocean economy.
The United States welcomed India’s decision to participate in the first ever White House Arctic Science Ministerial to be held in September 2016. The Sides proposed to initiate collaborations in areas of Arctic science and research.
Health, Education, and People-to-People Contacts
Noting the ongoing active dialogue between the Sides in the field of traditional medicine and acknowledging the successful organization of India-U.S. Workshop on Traditional Medicine in March 2016, the Sides welcomed progress toward an MOU between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Ministry of AYUSH.
The Sides noted their broad and expanding collaboration on infectious diseases and the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). They welcomed the establishment of the GHSA cell within the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Sides discussed expansion of the India Epidemic Intelligence Service (IEIS) – a post-graduate field training program initiated in 2012 with CDC technical assistance. The Sides further acknowledged that discussions are underway to initiate programs on vaccines for TB, dengue, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) with public-private partnerships mode under the U.S.-India Vaccine Action Program.
The Sides welcomed continued collaboration between the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) of India and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States in the area of HIV/AIDS. The Sides noted the mutual commitment for furthering work under the Indo-U.S. MOU for cooperation on cancer research, prevention, control, and management and welcomed that the first meeting of the Joint Working Group constituted under the MOU was held in New Delhi in March 2016 to discuss specific action plans. The Sides expressed happiness with the initiation of the second round of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey in India in technical partnership with the U.S. CDC. The Sides decided to reconvene the next round of India-U.S. Health Dialogue this fall. The sides also reaffirmed their shared commitment to the detection and treatment of tuberculosis, especially in urban areas, and to combatting multi drug resistant TB with USAID support.
As an affirmation of the commitment to build enhanced partnerships in education and research, the Sides decided to explore the continuation of Indo-U.S. 21st Century Knowledge Initiative.
The Sides appreciated the progress made towards an MOU in the field of Higher Education to increase cooperation in all higher education areas including student and faculty exchange and mobility, institutional collaborations, vocational training, technical and professional education, and philanthropy in higher education.
The Sides looked forward to organizing and scheduling a Higher Education Dialogue to be held in Washington, DC.
The Sides welcomed the finalization of the text of an Interconnectivity Security Agreement by the Ministry of External Affairs of India and U.S. Customs and Border Protection toward implementation of International Expedited Traveller Initiative (Global Entry Program), which will provide expedited entry to pre-approved Indian travellers upon arrival in the United States.
The leaders asked officials on both sides to continue to remain in touch and strive to further strengthen the bilateral partnership. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker thanked the Indian delegation for hosting the second Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and for the warm hospitality. They decided to convene the next round in the United States in 2017.