Through the cycle of elections and transitions of Administrations the intensity of our engagements has only grown. And, in this exciting journey, the U.S. Congress has acted as its compass. You have helped us turn barriers into bridges of partnership. In the fall of 2008, when the Congress passed the India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, it changed the very colors of leaves of our relationship.
We thank you for being there when the partnership needed you the most. You have also stood by us in times of sorrow. India will never forget the solidarity shown by the U.S. Congress when terrorists from across our border attacked Mumbai in November of 2008. And for this, we are grateful.
Mr. Speaker, I am informed that the working of the U.S. Congress is harmonious. I am also told that you are well-known for your bipartisanship. Well, you are not alone.
Time and again, I have also witnessed a similar spirit in the Indian Parliament, especially in Upper House. So, as you can see, we have many shared practices.
Mr. Speaker, as this country knows well, every journey has its pioneers. Very early on, they shaped a development partnership even when the meeting ground was more limited. The genius of Norman Borlaug brought the Green Revolution and food security to my country. The excellence of American Universities nurtured Institutions of Technology and Management in India.
And, I could go on. But fast forward to the present. The embrace of our partnership extends to the totality of human endeavor — from the depths of the oceans to the vastness of the space.
Our Science and Technology collaboration continues to help us in cracking the age-old problems in the fields of public health, education, food, and agriculture. Ties of commerce and investment are flourishing. We trade more with the U.S. than with any other nation. And, the flow of goods, services and capital between us generates jobs in both our societies.
As in trade, so in defence. India exercises with the United States more than we do with any other partner. Defence purchases have moved from almost zero to $10 billion in less than a decade. Our cooperation also secures our cities and citizens from terrorists, and protects our critical infrastructure from cyber threats. Civil Nuclear Cooperation, as I told President Obama yesterday, is a reality.
Mr. Speaker, our people to people links are strong, and there is a close cultural connect between our societies. Siri – you are familiar with the Siri — Siri tells us that India’s ancient heritage of Yoga has over 30 million practitioners in the U.S. It is estimated that more Americans bend for yoga than to throw a curve ball. And, no Mr. Speaker, we have not yet claimed intellectual property right on Yoga.
Connecting our two nations is also a unique and dynamic bridge of 3 million Indian Americans. Today, they are among your best CEOs, academics, astronauts, scientists, economists, doctors, even spelling bee champions. They are your strength. They are also the pride of India. They symbolize the best of both our societies.
Mr. Speaker, my understanding of your great country began long before I entered public office. Long before assuming office, I traveled coast to coast, covering more than 25 States of America. I realized then that the real strength of the U.S. was in the dreams of its people and the boldness of their ambitions.
Today, Mr. Speaker, a similar spirit animates India. Our 800 million youth, are especially impatient. India is undergoing a profound social and economic change. A billion of its citizens are already politically empowered. My dream is to economically empower them through many social and economical transformations. And, do so by 2022, the seventy-fifth anniversary of India’s independence.
My to-do list is long and ambitious. But you will understand. It includes: A vibrant rural economy with robust farm sector; A roof over each head and electricity for all households; to skill millions of our youth; build 100 smart cities; have a broad band for a billion, and connect our villages to the digital world; and create a 21 century rail, road and port infrastructure. These are not just aspirations; they are goals to be reached in a finite time-frame. And, to be achieved with a light carbon footprint, with greater emphasis on renewables.
Mr. Speaker, in every sector of India’s forward march, I see the U.S. as an indispensable partner. Many of you also believe that a stronger and prosperous India is in America’s strategic interest. Let us work together to convert shared ideals into practical cooperation. There can be no doubt that in advancing this relationship, both nations stand to gain.
As the U.S. businesses search for new areas of economic growth, markets for their goods, a pool of skilled resources, and global locations to produce and manufacture, India could be their ideal partner.
India’s strong economy, and growth rate of 7.6% per annum, is creating new opportunities for our mutual prosperity. Transformative American technologies in India and growing investment by Indian companies in the United States both have a positive impact on the lives of our citizens.
Today, for their global research and development centers, India is the destination of choice for the U.S. companies. Looking eastward from India, across the Pacific, the innovation strength of our two countries comes together in California. Here the innovative genius of America and India’s intellectual creativity are working to shape new industries of the future.
Mr. Speaker, the 21st century has brought with it great opportunities. But it has also come with its own set of challenges. While some parts of the world are islands of growing economic prosperity, others are mired in conflicts. In Asia, the absence of an agreed security architecture creates uncertainty. Threats of terror are expanding, and new challenges are emerging in cyber and outer-space. And global institutions conceived in 20th century, seem unable to cope with new challenges or take on new responsibilities.