A Vision for the U.S. and India

Hillary Clinton

Anna Centenary Library
Chennai, India

I want to thank Chief Librarian Naresh for welcoming me to this absolutely extraordinarily impressive facility, and for telling us all to the largest public library in India. And I am delighted to finally be here in Chennai. I've been coming to India since the 1990s as my country's first lady, as a senator from New York, and as a Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. But this is the first opportunity to come to this extraordinary coastal city here in the South, and one that means so much to so many in my own country and elsewhere, and to be in Tamil Nadu, who is a state that is one of the most industrialized, globalized, and educated in all of India. So it is - (applause) - it is somehow not surprising that this state would boast this very large library for the use of its citizens. And I know that the librarian has spent some time in my country, and we so pleased to have that among many of the links between us and you.

President Obama made a state visit to India last year. I have been here twice in the last two years. And why, one might ask? Why are we coming to India so often and welcoming Indian officials to Washington as well? It's because we understand that much of the history of the 21st century will be written in Asia, and that much of the future of Asia will be shaped by decisions not only of the Indian Government in New Delhi, but of governments across India, and perhaps, most importantly, by the 1.3 billion people who live in this country.

And we have a great commitment to our government-to-government relations, but we have an even greater commitment to our people-to-people ones. And we view them as absolutely central to the partnership and friendship between our countries. As President Obama told the Indian parliament last year, the relationship between India and the United States will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. How will we define it? How will we work together to inject content into it? What will we do to build trust and confidence and do more that will bring us together?

Well, speaking for the United States, I can tell you that we are, in fact, betting on India's future. We are betting that the opening of India's markets to the world will produce a more prosperous India and a more prosperous South Asia. It will also spill over into Central Asia and beyond into the Asia Pacific region. We are betting that advances in science and technology of all kinds will both enrich Indian lives and advance human knowledge everywhere. And we are betting that India's vibrant, pluralistic democracy will produce measurable results and improvements for your citizens and will inspire others to follow a similar path of openness and tolerance.

Now, we are making this bet not out of some blind faith, but because we have watched the progress of India with great admiration. You have maintained that democratic foundation while focusing on improving lives, particularly on the poorest among you in a way that the United States both recognizes and admires. Yet I know very well it will take time to realize this potential. And I also know, because I hear it from friends and colleagues and I see it from time to time in the Indian press, which is so exciting to read - I never know what I'm going to find when I turn the page of one of your newspapers, and I'm always both delighted and surprised.

But I find that there are those who raise questions about the direction of the relationship between us, and I understand that. It is true that we are different countries with different histories and backgrounds. And we will, from time to time, disagree as any two nations or, frankly, any two friends inevitably will do. But we believe that our differences are far outweighed by our deep and abiding bonds. Our nations are built on the same bedrock beliefs about democracy, pluralism, opportunity, and innovation. We share common interests like stopping terrorism and spurring balanced and broad-based economic growth that goes deeply into our societies.

And that is why our two governments have established a Strategic Dialogue which we announced when I first came as Secretary of State back in 2009 and when Prime Minister Singh visited later that year, and which, of course, we now have held two important sessions of, one in Washington and then this week in New Delhi. I met with a broad array of Indian officials, and I am very pleased to report to you that our work together is producing real results. We have already established a new clean energy research and development center that will be putting out the requests for proposals so we know what it is we can work on together to advance our common goal of clean energy and combat climate change.

We have worked together for the important task of preventing cyber attacks on our respective infrastructures. We are talking about a new bilateral investment treaty that will build on the 20 percent increase in trade we've seen just this last year. And we have watched as trade is increasingly flowing in both directions. We have new initiatives linking students and businesses and communities, and one of my personal favorites is the Passport to India, a program designed to bring more American students to study in India to match the great numbers of Indian students that come to America to study, because we want to create those bonds between our young people and our future leaders. We also consulted on the work we will be doing in the months ahead, strengthening our joint fight against terrorism, boosting our economic ties, completing our civilian-nuclear partnership, and deepening our defense cooperation. We think this work is very much in the interests of both of our countries and both of our peoples.

But I came to Chennai today to discuss in more depth, publicly, two issues that we discussed in our official meetings in New Delhi. And it really - they both are about India's growing leadership role in the world, because today, India is taking its rightful place in the meeting rooms and conference halls where the world's most consequential questions are debated and decided. And President Obama recognized this when he said that the United States looks forward to a reformed United Nations Security Council that includes India as a permanent member. (Applause.)

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Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State of the United States.

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