US targets India opportunity, bullish on future of South Asia

With India planning to spend around $1 trillion to bolster its infrastructure, the US has smelt “an enormous opportunity” in the India growth story and has underlined its resolve to deepen economic and strategic partnership with the growing Asian economy.

Robert Blake, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, has underlined the India opportunity during a hearing in a House panel Feb 26 on  “The Rebalance to Asia: Why South Asia Matters.”

“Our relationship from our burgeoning trade, to defence sales and exercises, to our growing education and clean energy partnerships has never been stronger,” said Blake, while describing India as one of America’s “most trusted and valuable partners” in the Asia-Pacific region.

In his presentation, Blake drew attention to India’s ambitious plans to shore up its infrastructure and highlighted how 80 percent of the infrastructure required to sustain and support the Asian country in 2025,  the projected time frame when India will become the world’s third-largest economy, has yet to be built.

“So we see an enormous opportunity in this growth to deepen our commercial partnership with India, working together with American companies to build the airports, power plants, water and sanitation systems, and fibre optic networks of India’s future,” said Blake, who has also served  as the US deputy chief of mission in New Delhi.

The US was “bullish on the future of this region, but we are also clear-eyed about the challenges that we face-terrorism such as we saw last week in Hyderabad; regional rivalries; nuclear proliferation; refugees; human trafficking and the potentially catastrophic effects of global climate change.”

Ami Bera, the only Indian-American member of US Congress, sought to reinforce the importance of the US-India relationship and made a pitch for bolstering relations both economically and strategically.

“India has a critical role in holding onto and maintaining some of the gains that we’ve made. India has a critical role in helping anchor stability in that region,” he said. And “Economically, you know, trade with India is vital.”

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