In transformational period of US-India ties, alignment closer than ever before: US Deputy Secretary Verma

US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Verma, center, the keynote at IndusX Feb. 20, 2024, in New Delhi. PHOTO: X @DepSecStateMR

New Delhi : United States Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Richard Verma said on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, that Washington and New Delhi are more aligned now than ever before.

“We are in a transformational period in US-India ties. I have been privileged and honored to be working on this relationship for quite a while. And when I think about what we’re doing today, the progress that we’re making in all areas. When I look at the joint statement that was signed between Prime Minister Modi and President Biden for the state visit last summer, I have never seen a more detailed and consequential pathway for our two countries,” Verma said while giving his special keynote address at the two-day INDUS-X 2024 Summit- Innovation in US-India Defense, which is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday.

Verma is on a three-nation visit to India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka from February 18-23.

“If you think back to our history about whether this kind of day was possible. You would probably be skeptical that we could ever get here or be very surprised that we can ever get here,” Verma surmised.

He recalled the last 24 years, including the start of US President Bill Clinton’s visit to India in 2000, saying, “If I measure our progress from the year 2000, we have excelled in every single body…We are more closely aligned than we have ever been before.”

US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Verma meets India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar Feb. 20, 2024. PHOTO X @DepSecStateMR

“Through all of our people-to-people contacts, the US Embassy is issuing more visas…We now have more Indian students in the United States, and nearly 250,000 or more students than we have ever had before. So when you actually measure what we are doing and in sheer numbers, we are more closely aligned than we have ever been before.

“And again on defense we have taken unprecedented steps to increase cooperation to bring our defense establishments closer together, and both sides have taken steps to get up here,” Verma continued.

He further suggested securing the supply chain and protecting innovation and technology, pointing out that INDUS-X has been a critical part of this momentum.

Speaking about the broader strategic context of what India and the US are doing together to strengthen the defense and technology relationship, Verma said one year ago when  national security advisors held the inaugural meeting of the US-India initiative in emerging technologies, it was focused on accelerating strategic technology and defense industrial cooperation.

In the past, “So many of these efforts are (sic) successful, but many also stalled…Our leaders chose to redouble their commitment to this partnership collaboration.”

For how we meet the ambitious goals set by President Biden and Prime Minister Modi “our leaders determined it was important for us to build an ecosystem that supports innovation, access to technology, and introducing governance in ways that reflect our free and open common aspirations,” Verma said, a transformation that needed to stretch across the bureaucracies, encompassing everything, quantum computing, and much more.



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