U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
Ministry of External Affairs Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan, New Delhi, India
October 25, 2017
MODERATOR: (Inaudible) request our Honorable Secretary of State to deliver his statement to the media.
SECRETARY TILLERSON: Well, let me begin by thanking Prime Minister Modi and Minister Swaraj for their very warm welcome to India. It is a real pleasure to return to India, a vibrant democracy that shares so many values with the United States.
India and the United States have had close relations now for more than 70 years and we are natural allies, in the words of Prime Minister Modi. We are grateful for his friendship and his vision of a closer U.S.-India relationship and a vision we certainly share. The United States supports India’s emergence as a leading power and will continue to contribute to Indian capabilities to provide security throughout the region. In this regard, we are willing and able to provide India advanced technologies for its military modernization efforts. This includes ambitious offers from American industry for F-16 and F-18 fighter planes. I’m grateful to my friend and colleague, Secretary of Defense Mattis, that he was able to visit India last month, and he and I both look forward to the inaugural 2+2 dialogue early next year.
In August, President Trump announced a new strategy for South Asia, one that redoubles our commitment to Afghanistan, and with it, to peace, stability, and the greater South Asian region. India plays an important role in this effort. In the fight against terrorism, the United States will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with India. Terrorist safe havens will not be tolerated.
We acknowledge with gratitude India’s generous contributions to development in Afghanistan, including construction of the Salma Dam and the Afghanistan parliament building, and the $3 billion it has provided already in development assistance. We also look forward to further cooperation in the broader Indo-Pacific region as we both promote a rules-based approach to the commons and a transparent and sustainable approach to economic development. We’re glad to be joined in this effort by our close mutual partner, Japan, and I was honored to participate in a trilateral discussion on these topics with my friends, Minister Swaraj and Minister Kono, in New York last month.
In addition to our partnership on regional and global stability, India and the United States continue to benefit from our strong economic bonds. Our two countries have a history of trade that dates back to the 18th century, long before the independence of either of our nations. We are pleased that recently, we celebrated an important milestone of our deepening economic relationship. The first shipment of American crude oil arrived in India at the beginning of this month, marking the first U.S. oil export to India in more than four decades. Continued oil sales have the potential to boost bilateral trade by up to $2 billion per year.
In fact, the U.S.-India trade relationship, which reached nearly $115 billion last year, touches many parts of the lives of both of our citizens. U.S. companies and products are an everyday presence in the lives of Indians and we see increasing investments from Indian companies in America, including a Mahindra vehicle plant that will open this month in Detroit, the first ever Indian automobile manufacturing plant in the United States. India and the United States also share a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation, including the dynamic Indian American community. We’re proud to cohost the Global Engagement Summit in Hyderabad next month, where the spirit of private enterprise will be on full display. GES, the first ever to be hosted in South Asia, will be an important opportunity for India and the United States to showcase the entrepreneurship of our people, advance women’s economic empowerment, and harness the power of young innovators in both of our countries.
But at the core of our strong bond is our shared values. Our democracies were founded on a commitment to individual liberty and the rule of law. It’s this foundation that underpins all that we work together on, from combating terrorism and safeguarding a rules-based Indo-Pacific region to increasing free and fair trade even as we look for more areas of cooperation. As President Trump said during Prime Minister Modi’s trip to the United States in June, and I quote, “The future of our partnership has never looked brighter.” India and the United States will always be tied together in friendship and respect. We look forward to an even brighter future. Thank you very much, Excellency, for hosting me and for the very fruitful and useful dialogue we’ve had. Thank you.