India and US are natural partners only when our people have a strong sense of connect, he said

The India-US relationship has undergone a real transformation in the last two decades, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in Washington DC on Tuesday. This relationship is making its weight increasingly felt in world affairs, he added.

Addressing an event at Howard University for India- U.S. Education Collaboration, Jaishankar said that for India-US ties to grow, it is equally necessary that there is a better understanding of India and the world on part of young Americans.

EAM Jaishankar, who participated in the
4th India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue,
noted that "India and US are natural partners only when our people have a strong sense of connect".

Addressing students at Howard University in the presence of his US counterpart Secretary of State Antony J Blinken, he said, Howard University is not just part of our shared past, it is very much part of the future that awaits us.

“As we contemplate that future, a big part of that, a big role in that is going to be played by the relationship between our two countries,” the Minister added.

“And that relationship has undergone a real transformation in the last two decades. Whether it is our strategic and security cooperation or our economic or technology partnerships, it is making its weight increasingly felt in world affairs,” he said.

A key driver of this change has been its human element. The 4.4 million Indian diaspora has literally defined our image in this society and helped forge relationships that are an enormous source of strength for us in our work, Jaishankar stated.

At its center are students, academics, researchers, and professionals who have contributed to America’s progress even as they remained a bridge between the two societies, he maintained.

“Your appreciation of a civilizational state and a fellow democratic polity that is daily overcoming enormous odds is essential. After all, we are natural partners only when our people have a strong sense of connect,” he explained.

“That is why Secretary Blinken and I were especially pleased yesterday to launch the Working Group on Education and Skill Development that he spoke about,” Jaishankar said.

It will enable us to explore a range of opportunities that exist in the fields of education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship, the Minister mentioned.

“We are also committed to taking forward the proposal for the Gandhi-King Development Foundation to implement social development projects in India. And in doing so, we would help realize the vision of Congressman John Lewis, who initiated congressional legislation in that regard,” he pointed out.

According to EAM Jaishankar, policy makers in both countries are sharply aware of the immense difference that our educational collaboration can make.

“On the Indian side, our 2020 National Education Policy contemplates, indeed prioritizes, international cooperation in education. At the American end, we recognize the renewed focus on the STEM sector, including in activities that a group, which we are both part of, called the Quad,” he said.

“The Quad, amongst its many activities is focused on STEM fellowships. I know that my colleague Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is looking forward to engaging more intensively on developing this important facet of our relationship,” Jaishankar said.

Underlining how important it is to develop and nurture these people to people linkages, he expressed confidence that Howard University and other educational institutions will be enthusiastic partners in this endeavor.