India's ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu on Thursday (local time) asserted that United States President Donald Trump's "historic" visit to India will strengthen the relationship between the two countries across all spheres.
Taranjit Singh Sandhu said he was lucky to be an Ambassador at a time of exciting possibilities between India and the US.
Speaking at a welcome reception hosted by US-India Business Council (USIBC), the Ambassador said, "Friends, ours, is a partnership, between two peoples, and not just two governments. The strong and enduring bonds, between the American and Indian people, has been the foundation of our relationship.
During the forthcoming visit, of the President of the United States to India, you will witness, the warmth of Indian people, for the United States," he added.
At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump will pay a two-day State visit to India from February 24.
Taranjit Singh Sandhu stressed that in open and democratic societies, the work is more collaborative and is inspired by intellectuals among the people. Quoting ancient strategist, and theoretician of statecraft, Chanakya's famous work 'Arthashastra', he said "one wheel alone does not move a chariot
Recalling that External Affairs Minister, Dr Jaishankar once said: "The street guides the system," the ambassador added that the future which both our countries look forward to, cannot be shaped by Governments alone.
Underlining that the US-India relationship, is being considered as the most transformational relationship, he said, "The relationship has enjoyed, strong bipartisan support, in the United States. This is an affirmation, of our shared values; of our common commitment, to democracy and pluralism."
The ambassador recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to a joint session of US Congress, in which PM Modi said that the US-India relationship signified a momentous future, upon overcoming the 'hesitations of history'.
"Since then, we have seen, that our relationship has evolved into, a global strategic partnership. We are coordinating and co-operating, in multiple spheres: in counter-terrorism; defence; Indo-Pacific; science and technology; trade and investment," Taranjit said.
Taranjit Singh Sandhu highlighted that PM Modi has set, an ambitious target of becoming a US$ 5 trillion economy, by 2024 and added that the United States is a preferred partner in that effort.
"Bilateral trade is growing, at 10 percent, on a year-to-year basis, and has reached $160 billion in 2019. Two-way investment, between India and the US, reached US$ 60 billion in 2018.
More than 2000 US companies have a presence in India. Over 200 Indian companies have invested US$ 18 billion in the US, creating more than 100,000 direct jobs," the Ambassador said.
He asserted that Defence and Energy co-operation, have been the game changers in the India-US bilateral relationship. He informed that the energy trade reached close to US$ 8 billion in 2019, which was zero, a few years ago.
Taranjit Singh Sandhu said that in 2013, he testified before the House Energy Committee, and advised US energy exports to India. In 2017, the leadership decided to transform the energy partnership, into a strategic energy partnership, he added.
The Ambassador said the defence partnership between two countries have undergone a qualitative transformation and noted that the defence trade is valued, at approximately US $18 billion "with the potential to grow much more."
"In 2016, the United States recognized India, as a Major Defence Partner, opening the doors for extended co-operation. By signing agreements, such as LEMOA; COM CASA, we have created an enabling framework, for greater co-operation. During the 2+2 Meeting, in December 2019, we announced the signing of the Industrial Security Annex," he said.
He said the latest budget, which has been tabled in the Parliament, by the Finance Minister has announced incentives to boost participation by Foreign Portfolio investors.
(With inputs from ANI)