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U.S., India must believe that they are nations of innovation and opportunity, says Kerry

Washington: Describing the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue that would be taking place between the United States and India today as one the most important with any country on the planet, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that both the United States and India must believe and also be seen as countries of innovation and opportunity.

Suggesting that both the United States and India have come from the same colonial background, and had a number of commonalities, Kerry, who was addressing a U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue Summit reception here, said, “We think alike. We believe in human rights and opportunity for people. We have incredible diversity in our counties and tolerance. We have an ability to be able to build on this future.Each of our countries is ethnically and culturally diverse, and each is a labourer for peace, and each seeks a world in which the light of the human spirit overcomes darkness. And although, differences of ideology have separated us in the past . we are in the end, the most natural of partners.”

He further stated that both the United States and India must make the most of the opportunity “that is staring us in the face”.

“I hope that India will be the partner with the United States that helps to get the job done for hundreds of millions, billions of people around this planet who are waiting for people to lead in the right direction and to make government live up to its fundamental responsibilities,” Kerry said.

Putting on record his praise for the extraordinary work done by the U.S.-India Business Council over the last 40 years, Kerry said both Indian and American businessmen were beyond capable, globally recognised and , extraordinary CEOs who have helped to forge a dynamic US-India commercial relationship.

Moving to the business end of his address, the Secretary of State said that he once again wanted to reinforce his views on the challenge of climate change.

Describing climate change as one of the most pressing concerns of the globe, Kerry said, “A recent survey reported that 73 percent of Indians view climate change as the most pressing global concern.”

He recalled his visit to China last year, wherein both Beijing and Washington negotiated an agreement for reducing emissions, and have now set goals that we will aim to reach a global climate protection agreement at Paris in December this year.

Kerry also described the world energy market, as an entity “that is staring us in the face, waiting for people to grab onto”.

“It is a USD trillion market with four to five billion users today, and it will rise to about nine billion, if the statistics are correct, over the next 30 to 40 years,” he added.

“This is the mother of all markets, and it is the most extraordinary opportunity to do something that people in public life rarely get the opportunity to do, and that is to get a – it’s one thing when you make a public policy decision,” Kerry stated further.

“You live up to your obligation to future generations to do what we need to do with respect to the environment. We live up to our responsibilities with respect to children who are hospitalized. The greatest cause of hospitalization of children in the United States of America in the summer is environmentally induced asthma. It comes from the quality of air. We clean up the air; people are healthier; less cancer, less particulates in the air,” he said.

He said that millions of jobs are waiting to be created in the alternative renewable energy sector, but cautioned that this was not going to be achieved overnight.

“So, the possibilities of all of these plus-ups – of jobs, your economy, of growth, of making the world more secure, moving to a new economy, of having independence with respect to energy – it’s rare you get an opportunity to sell people that. But it’s also very rare that you have to sell it in the context of a 500-year drought, 500-year floods, extraordinary fires demolishing massive areas of wood and communities, insurance rates going up, insurance payouts going up. If people really factored in the true accounting of global climate change costs, you’d have a very different balance sheet than the one that people operate with today,” the U.S. Secretary of State said.

He also talked about the enduring relationship that the U.S. and India have enjoyed over the past four decades, and hoped that these ties would continue to develop with the same passion of the past.

Among the other attending the reception were U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Sushma, India’s Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South – South and Central Asian Affairs, and the Ambassadors of the United States and India — Richard Verma and Arun Singh. (ANI)