India will become world power: US envoy

Coimbatore: Sounding a note of optimism for India that it is going emerge as a “world power”, the US Ambassador Richard Verma on Monday hailed the rising opportunities opening up for its youth in various sectors.

“I know where I am from and am proud for that… Now, India is going to be a world power, you have more opportunities,” he told students of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University here.

The senior diplomat also said that, “moving forward, in 2016”, the US will support fellowships here in India that explore “plant and animal health, post-harvest treatment, biological control, biotechnology, and agricultural marketing”.

The Indian-born American said he was happy to be associated with India, where his family has its roots.

Talking about his ancestral village in Punjab’s Jalandhar, he said that his father, mother and grandmother were all teachers and it was a challenge for him to meet their expectations.

Verma recalled that when he scored five ‘As’ and an ‘A-‘ in his examinations, his parents would debate as to how their son could get low marks when there were two teachers in the house. He added that his father had left for the US in 1963 after getting an academic scholarship.

Meanwhile, on the question of Indo-US partnership in agriculture, he said that as two of the world’s largest agricultural producers, India and the US should collaborate on the research front. The two countries should work together to ensure global trade continues to bring food security and prosperity to the rest of the world, he added.?

In this regard, Verma cited the example of how the US soybean industry, hoping to develop a market for US soybeans, partnered with India’s aquaculture sector to adopt best practices for sustainable production of fish and shrimp.?

That effort, he said, helped meet growing protein needs, not just of Indians, but of consumers around the world.?

Verma said that institutions like TNAU can create opportunities in the agricultural sector which would pay dividends for generations to come.

He stressed on the need to focus on “the challenges we face in ensuring that the world produces enough safe, affordable, and widely available food in the 21st century”.