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'America First', 'Make in India' are not incompatible
13 January 2018, 01:28 | Opal Carroll
US ambassador Kenneth Juster says'America First and'Make in India are incompatible
India is a "leading power" in the Indo-Pacific and should gear up to become an alternative manufacturing destination to China to attract US business, said USA ambassador to India Kenneth Juster. "This required a sophisticated system of export controls, which India, candidly, did not have at the time", Juster said in his first policy speech since taking over as the U.S. ambassador to India. "Accordingly, some companies are downgrading their operations there, while others are looking with great interest at alternative markets". Juster said it will lead to collaboration on emerging technologies and will create more employment opportunities for both countries.
A major part of Juster's speech was on ways to enhance economic and commercial relations and underlined that the USA is concerned about persistent trade deficits with India.
The US envoy took to the occasion to state that the increased heft in our economic relationship would necessarily provide a broader and deeper, long-term USA commitment to India and the Indo-Pacific region. Instead, he said, the two had the potential to be "mutually beneficial, increase economic interactions and volume of trade".
Talking about the Indo-Pacific region, the envoy said that the US National Security Strategy recognises India as a leading power in region and beyond.
He also said although bilateral trade has reached $115 billion in 2016 from $20 billion in 2001, there is still plenty of room to expand the flow of goods and services in both directions and, in the process, for trade to become more reciprocal.
"We are concerned about persistent trade deficits, including the one we have with India. And we want to work with India to expeditiously resolve trade and investment disputes".
He said Mr. Trump's recent decision to suspend security aid to Pakistan came because Islamabad "has not done all it can to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan that are contributing to unrest in Afghanistan".
However, the USA on Tuesday made its stand clear that the aid to Pakistan has only been suspended not cut-off, as it wanted the country to take an aggressive approach in eliminating terrorism.
"Don't think we will get stability in Afghanistan if Pakistan does not positively contribute". Praising Indians, he said 33 percent of all immigrant-founded startups in the United States have Indian founders. "That is not going to change", he said.
Cooperation with India on defence and counter-terrorism to enhance the long-term stability and security of the Indo- Pacific region is a key pillar, he said.
"We take more immigrants than any other country in the world", he added.
When asked about Sino-US ties, Juster noted, "We are interested in a constructive relationship. But we also want to make it clear that if they are going to be engaged in certain predatory economic behaviour or other activities than there's an alternative set of principles that other countries of the region are going to follow", he said.
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