There is convergence of views between India and the US not only on international issues but also in their economic vision as the two countries are natural allies and partners in progress, according to India's envoy here.
Noting that the relationship between the two countries has evolved into a truly comprehensive partnership of mutual trust and confidence over the years, Indian Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Friday told a business audience that the visits by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington in 2016 and 2017 highlighted the huge bipartisan support for this relationship.
He received an overwhelming welcome from the US Congress and the business community and during his meeting with President Donald Trump, both leaders spoke about convergence in values, priorities, concerns, and interests, Shringla said in his address to the Business Seminar in the London House in Chicago.
Both leaders committed to further expand the trade relationship with focus on job creation and to develop an understanding of each other's priorities. Government of India is committed to building on this relationship with the US. There is a convergence of views of the two countries not only on international issues but also in the economic vision, he said.
Shringla said the most recent political level engagement held at the bilateral Commercial Dialogue in Delhi last month also took note that annual bilateral trade in goods and services between the US and India more than doubled over the last decade, from USD 58 billion in 2007 to USD 126 billion in 2017.
Both sides resolved to remain engaged and take measures for further enhancement of bilateral trade. The sides agreed to continue to find ways to improve bilateral trade and increase market access in our countries as was agreed upon in the United States and India: Prosperity Through Partnership joint statement of June 2017 and the Commercial Dialogue Joint Statement of October 2017, he said.
Asserting that trade and commercial ties between the two countries are strong, he said the two-way trade has grown exponentially and was worth USD 126 billion in goods and services in 2017. In 2018, it is expected to cross USD 140 billion more than 11 per cent increase over 2017.
Total bilateral merchandise trade in 2018 was more than USD 87.5 billion. US exports to India in 2018 have grown at nearly 30 per cent to over USD 33 billion while Indian exports have grown at about 12 per cent to over USD 54 billion. This growth has ensured that bilateral trade deficit has reduced by over seven per cent in 2018 alone, he said.
Shringla expressed hope that the inclusion of India in the License Exception Strategic Trade Authorization (STA-1) will further give a fillip to the defence trade between the two countries and integrate India into the international supply chains.
High level engagement like the 2+2 dialogue between the two countries has once again thrown focus on the importance that both sides attach to the relationship.
It has brought into light the shared commitment to a forward-looking vision for the India-US strategic partnership which is putting our relations on an upward trajectory, he said.
Noting that people to people relations form the bedrock of the bilateral relations between the two countries, he said the presence of a large and vibrant Indian American community is a bonding factor between the two countries.
More than 227,000 Indian students are studying in the US who contribute over USD 6.5 billion to the US education sector each year. US has continued to be among the largest tourist generating market for India during the last few years with over 1.3 million tourists visiting India in 2017, he said.
A similar number of Indian nationals also visited the US. India is the sixth largest market for international visitor spending in America. Both countries look forward to further enhancing potential of the sector to support economic growth, create jobs and foster closer relationships between our people, he said.