US has stake in India emergence as global power: Froman
"President Obama is committed to forging a long term truly global partnership with India, recognizing India`s increasing role as a 21st century power. President Obama views India as one of his top foreign policy priorities and one of the important bilateral relationships," Michael Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor on international economic affairs, said in his address to the US India Business Council (USIBC).
"We have enormous stake in India`s emergence as a global power. India is of course world`s largest democracy and soon to be perhaps the most populous country. It`s economy is growing at a rate that envies the industrialised nations and has the potential to be a significant driver of global economic growth," Froman said reflecting the views of the White House on India.
India`s participation, he said, is important for meeting increasing global challenges, be it the challenges facing now in the global economy, future of trade and climate, infrastructure or fighting the war against terrorism.
Commenting on the India-US economic relationship, Froman said in many ways the bilateral economic relationship was the driver of the political relationship.
While there has been significant improvement in the bilateral trade and economic relationship, there is much more that can be done, he said. "As strategic partners, it is important that we be open and frank about how best to go about that," Froman said.
Noting that recently US industry has increasingly become concerned about the relationship given that the investment environment has deteriorated, Froman said "domestic political challenges are slowing" the economic reform.
As a consequence, the economic relationship is not achieving that it might be, he noted. The disappointment of the business community he says "worries him" as the business community has been one of the strongest proponents of a strong US-India relationship.
Froman then went on to list the issues of civil nuclear power agreement, taxes, or implementation of the regulatory reforms, and said these are all of the areas that "needs to be addressed" to be able to continue this essential relationship.
Observing that the US shares India`s concern about unfair competition and unfair trade practices, Froman said the Obama Administration is "eager to work with India" to deal with the challenges in a manner that avoids constrained environments, mandatory licensing and indigenous industrial policies that may create unnecessary obstacles to deepen the bilateral ties and more importantly may actually India inhibit its goals.
"When we think of India as an emerging power, one of the key component on which India would build its influence is its economic strength and attractiveness. India`s economic reforms would fuel years of growth, attract billions of foreign investment and promote innovation, technology transfer, collaboration and partnership. This is the best way to ensure that our bilateral relationship is deepened and the best way to ensure India?s place as an emerging power remains secure," he said. Froman said these all areas can be addressed if there is a "political will" to do so.