1. The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama, is visiting India from 25-27 January 2015. The President of India and the Prime Minister of India welcomed the U.S. President as the Chief Guest at India`s 66th Republic Day celebrations, the first U.S. President to grace this historic event.
2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama assessed the extensive bilateral strategic and global partnership between their two countries and pledged to continue to enhance cooperation across the spectrum of human endeavor to better their citizens’ lives and that of the global community.
3. Noting that the multifaceted partnership between the United States and India is rooted in shared values of democracy and strong economic and people-to-people ties, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi elevated the bilateral relationship through their endorsement of a new India-U.S. Delhi Declaration of Friendship, which builds on their 30 September Vision Statement by articulating tangible principles to guide ongoing efforts to advance mutual prosperity, a clean and healthy environment, greater economic cooperation, regional peace, security and stability for the larger benefit of humankind.
4. Recognizing the important role that both countries play in promoting peace, prosperity, stability and security in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, and noting that India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and the United States’ rebalance to Asia provide opportunities for India, the United States, and other Asia-Pacific countries to work closely to strengthen regional ties, the Leaders announced a Joint Strategic Vision to guide their engagement in the region.
5. The Prime Minister and the President acknowledged and expressed satisfaction at the qualitative reinvigoration of strategic ties and the intensity of substantive interactions since the Prime Minister`s visit to Washington in September 2014. They appreciated the focused action and accomplishments by both sides on the decisions taken during the Summit in September and in this regard, they welcomed:
1. The 30 September 2014 signing of an implementing agreement between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to conduct the joint NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission.
2. The convening of the Defence Policy Group and its subgroups on 28-29 October 2014 to pursue stronger and expanded bilateral defence cooperation.
3. India’s ongoing facilitation of U.S. Department of Defense humanitarian missions in India, including a mission in October and November 2014, to recover the remains of fallen U.S. soldiers who served in World War II.
4. The signing of the India-U.S. Statement of Guiding Principles on Triangular Cooperation for Global Development on 3 November 2014, in furtherance of bilateral efforts to advance sustainable development in cooperation with partner countries around the world.
5. The breakthrough between India and the United States on issues relating to the implementation of the Bali Ministerial Decisions regarding public stockholding for food security purposes, the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and post Bali work.
6. Convening of the U.S.-India Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation in New Delhi on 17 November 2014 to review, exchange views, and advance cooperation in diverse areas of science and technology and foster engagement in techno-entrepreneurship and innovation partnership for mutual benefit.
7. Convening of the India-U.S. Higher Education Dialogue in New Delhi on 17 November 2014 to further bilateral cooperation in this field, strengthen partnerships between Indian and U.S. universities and community colleges, improve student and scholar mobility, and promote faculty collaboration.
8. The signing of the MoU on 18 November 2014 between Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. and the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which would make available up to $1 billion in financing to facilitate expanded cooperation and enhance U.S. private sector investment in Indian clean energy projects.
9. Successful hosting of the bilateral India-U.S. Technology Summit on 18-19 November 2014 with the U.S. as a partner country for the first time.
10. Convening of the High Technology Cooperation Group on 20-21 November 2014 to shape a cooperative agenda on high technology goods, including export control-related trade in homeland security technologies, high technology manufacturing equipment including machine tools, defence trade, and fostering collaboration in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and health-related information technology.
11. Convening of the Smart Cities Conclave on 22 November 2014 organised by the U.S.-India Business Council in cooperation with the Ministry of Urban Development and the Mayors and Commissioners of Ajmer (Rajasthan), Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) and Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and the decision by the Government of India to constitute a high-level committee for each of the three Smart Cities comprising different departments of the Central Government, the state governments, local governments, and representatives of the U.S. industry.
12. Signing of three MoUs between the State Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency on 25 January 2015 to develop Vishakhapatnam, Allahabad, and Ajmer as Smart Cities with the participation of U.S. industry, in furtherance of the commitment made by the Leaders in September 2014.
13. The convening of the Trade Policy Forum at the Ministerial level on 24-25 November 2014, in which India and the United States agreed to work towards resolving commercial impediments in both markets, to help realize the potential of bilateral trade in goods and services, and to promote investment and manufacturing.
14. Convening of the India-U.S. Political Military Dialogue on 4 December 2014 to exchange perspectives on bilateral strategic and regional issues.
15. Convening the sixth round of the India-U.S.-Japan trilateral discussions on 20 December 2014 to deepen regional engagement and to discuss ways to implement projects on the ground.
16. The launch of the Infrastructure Collaboration Platform in New Delhi on 13 January 2015 to promote enhanced market access and financing to increase U.S. industry participation in the growth and development of sectors that support Indian infrastructure.
17. The 12-15 January 2015 expert exchange on Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) strategies and technologies and completion of a Joint Statement of Intent and a work plan for a programme of bilateral C-IED cooperation.
18. The signing of a framework on and inauguration of the India-U.S. Investment Initiative in Washington on 12-15 January 2015 to jointly cooperate on facilitating capital market development conducive to financing investment; creating an environment that encourages investment in various sectors in India; and working to overcome any obstacles to such investment.
19. The convening of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Working Group in Washington on 14-15 January 2015 and the 23 January signing of the Joint Declaration of Intent to advance implementation of the Digital India programme and further bilateral commercial ICT cooperation.
20. Launching of a Knowledge Partnership in defence studies expressing a shared desire to pursue collaborative activities between the United States and Indian National Defence Universities.
21. Signing of the Statement of Cooperation for Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Supervisory Information between the Reserve Bank of India and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Reserve System, and Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC).
22. Convening of Indian and U.S. CEOs who are committed to deepening bilateral economic ties by identifying current impediments to trade and investment and working with the two government to find solutions; and identifying emerging sectors where public-private partnership can unlock new collaborations between our two peoples.
23. The 13 January 2015 signing of the MoU between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Urban Development to enable USAID to share expertise, best practices, innovation and technologies in support of India`s efforts to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in urban areas.
24. India’s recent introduction of visa-on-arrival for U.S. citizens and the convening of the first technical discussions to advance India’s membership in the United States’ Global Entry Program, initiatives aimed at easing travel between India and the United States to further strengthen people-to-people ties.
25. Cooperation on scientific research collaboration on the Indian Monsoon Rainfall currently underway aboard the U.S. research vessel JOIDES Resolution in the Bay of Bengal.
26. The conclusion of the first of two project annexes between the Indian Department of Atomic Energy–Department of Science and Technology and the U.S. Department of Energy, which will enable discovery science cooperation in particle accelerator and high energy physics.
27. The 22 January signing of the MoU between the U.S. Department of Treasury and India’s Ministry of Finance to enhance cooperation to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.The Completion of an MoU between the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research, All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, and the U.S National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute.
28. The 23 January signing of the Joint Declaration of Intent between USAID and the Ministry of Human Resource Development for technical support to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), starting with IIT Gandhinagar, to strengthen research and entrepreneurship capabilities.
29. The recent finalization of the 2015 Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship, which will guide and expand the bilateral defence and strategic partnership over the next ten years.
30. The 22 January signing of the India-U.S. Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E) Agreement to facilitate cooperation in defence research and development.
31. Continuing bilateral engagement on the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), including the 22 January 2015 agreement in principle to pursue co-production and co-development of four pathfinder projects, form a working group to explore aircraft carrier technology sharing and design, and explore possible cooperation on development of jet engine technology.
6. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama jointly appreciated the significant efforts undertaken by both sides in recent months to re-energize the strategic partnership, and affirmed expanding the substantive underpinnings of our diversified bilateral strategic partnership including through expanded strategic consultations, stronger defence, security, and economic cooperation.
7. President Obama also reiterated his support for Prime Minister Modi`s vision to transform India, and recognized that India`s focus on its development priorities presented substantial opportunities for forging stronger India-U.S. economic ties and greater people-to-people contacts. Reaffirming that India’s rise is also in the interest of the United States, regional and global stability, and global economic growth, President Obama reiterated the United States` readiness to partner with India in this transformation. The two leaders pledged to translate their commitment of "Chalein Saath Saath”: "Forward Together We Go" of September into action through "Sanjha Prayaas; Sab Ka Vikaas": "Shared Effort; Progress For All".
Economic Growth
8. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama expressed confidence that continued bilateral collaboration will increase opportunities for investment, improve bilateral trade and investment ties and lead to the creation of jobs and prosperity in both economies. In this regard, the Leaders agreed to continue to strengthen their broad-based partnership for development through stronger trade, technology, manufacturing, and investment linkages between the two countries and triangular cooperation with partner countries, and that continued efforts to maintain labor standards as per domestic law and agreed international norms will make these linkages more durable. The two sides also committed to continuing to cooperate on the finalization of the Post-Bali Work Programme in the spirit of the Doha mandate.
9. The President and the Prime Minister affirmed their shared commitment to facilitating increased bilateral investment flows and fostering an open and predictable climate for investment. To this end, the Leaders instructed their officials to assess the prospects for moving forward with high-standard bilateral investment treaty discussions given their respective approaches.
10. The President and the Prime Minister also welcomed the fifth annual U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue in February, in which the countries will deepen their dialogue on macroeconomic policy, financial sector regulation and development, infrastructure investment, tax policy, and efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
11. The two sides agreed to hold a discussion on the elements required in both countries to pursue an India-U.S. Totalisation Agreement.
12. President Obama commended Prime Minister Modi’s "Jan Dhan” scheme to prioritize financial inclusion for India’s poor. The Leaders noted India’s intent to join the Better Than Cash Alliance.
13. The Leaders committed to explore areas of collaboration in skill development ranging from establishing quality assurance systems for skilling certification standards, setting up of skill development centres, nurturing and promoting social entrepreneurship and strengthening the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
14. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi agreed to collaborate in the implementation of India`s ambitious Digital India programme and expand commercial cooperation, including by encouraging investment engagement in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
15. In recognition of the importance of their ongoing commercial discussions, the two sides agreed to hold public-private discussions in early 2015 under the aegis of the India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue for a period of two years, until March 2016, on mutually agreed areas of cooperation.
16. Recognizing the progress made in constructive engagement on Intellectual Property under the last round of the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum held in November, 2014, the Leaders also looked forward to enhancing engagement on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in 2015 under the High Level Working Group on Intellectual Property, to the mutual benefit of both the countries.
17. Acknowledging the potential for technological cooperation in the rail sector in augmenting and optimizing India`s rail infrastructure, the Leaders agreed to facilitate U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Indian Railways technical cooperation that will assist Indian Railways’ efforts to modify its leasing and public-private partnership frameworks to attract private sector funding.
18. The Leaders recognized the robust public-private U.S.-India civil aviation partnership and agreed to continue working together to identify emerging technologies and build a larger commercial engagement agenda through key events such as the 2015 U.S.-India Aviation Summit and demonstration of advanced U.S. technologies.
19. Reaffirming their commitment to safety and security of civil aviation, the United States and India will continue consultations between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the India Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to ensure international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), with the aim of restoring Category I status at the earliest possible time.
20. Noting the importance of ongoing cooperation in higher education, the President and Prime Minister welcomed ongoing efforts to extend a knowledge partnership for supporting the Indian Institute of Technology at Gandhinagar through USAID. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi also pledged to collaborate through India`s Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN), to facilitate short-term teaching and research programs by up to 1000 visiting U.S. academics in Indian universities.
21. The Leaders emphasized the importance of strengthening international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund. The President also affirmed his commitment to enhancing India`s voice and vote in international Financial Institutions and ensuring that resources are made available and used creatively through multilateral development banks for infrastructure financing. Prime Minister Modi appreciated the efforts of the U.S. Treasury for cooperating with the Ministry of Finance on the Task Force on Resolution Corporation set up in pursuance of the recommendations of the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission. High Technology, Space and Health Cooperation
22. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that partnerships in science, technology and innovation are a crucial component of the overall bilateral engagement in the 21st century. They also reaffirmed their support for the role that science, technology and innovation partnerships can play in addressing pressing challenges in areas such as food, water, energy, climate, and health and developing innovative solutions that are affordable, accessible and adaptable, meet the needs of the people of the two countries and benefit the global community. To this end, the Leaders agreed to continue to develop cooperative efforts in many areas of science, technology, and innovation, including studying the impacts of water, air pollution, sanitation and hygiene on human health and well-being.
23. The Leaders also agreed to continue U.S.-India collaboration in hydrology and water studies and monsoon modelling and noted the need to expeditiously work towards launching an Indo-U.S. Climate Fellowship to facilitate human capacity building. The Prime Minister and the President also reaffirmed the importance of ongoing efforts to strengthen women`s participation in science, technology, engineering, and math through networking and mentoring programs.
24. The President and the Prime Minister welcome efforts, under the bilateral High Technology Cooperation Group, to seek timely resolution of the challenges to trade in High Technology goods, including the U.S. licensing requirements for trade in certain dual use items.
25. The Leaders reaffirmed the importance of providing transparent and predictable policy environments for fostering innovation. Both countries reiterated their interest in sharing information and best practices on IPR issues, and reaffirmed their commitment to stakeholders’ consultations on policy matters concerning intellectual property protection.
26. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi agreed to further promote cooperative and commercial relations between India and the United States in the field of space. The leaders noted the on-going interactions between their space agencies, including towards realizing a dual frequency radar imaging satellite for Earth Sciences, and exploring possibilities for cooperation in studying Mars.
27. The Leaders took note of ongoing U.S.-India space cooperation, including the first face-to-face meeting of the ISRO-NASA Mars Working Group from 29-31 January 2015 in Bangalore, in which the two sides will consider opportunities for enhanced cooperation in Mars exploration, including potential coordinated observations and analysis between ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission (MAVEN). The Prime Minister and the President also welcomed continued progress toward enhanced space cooperation via the U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group, which will meet later this year in India.
28. Under the umbrella of an implementing agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Atomic Energy of India, the Leaders welcomed expanded collaboration in basic physics research, and accelerator research and development.
29. The Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and announced specific actions at home and abroad to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including a CDC-Ministry of Health Ebola and GHSA preparedness training, expansion of the India Epidemic Intelligence Service, and development of a roadmap to achieve the objectives of the GHSA within three years.
30. The Leaders also committed to multi-sectoral actions countering the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and cooperation in training of health workers in preparedness for infectious disease threats. The Leaders agreed to focus science and technology partnerships on countering antibiotic resistant bacteria and promoting the availability, efficacy and quality of therapeutics.
31. The Leaders welcomed further progress in promoting bilateral cooperation on cancer research, prevention, control, and management and agreed to continue to strengthen the engagement between the CDC and India’s National Centre for Disease Control.
32. The President and Prime Minister also welcomed the upcoming completion of an Environmental Health, Occupational Health and Injury Prevention and Control MoU between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indian Council for Medical Research to further collaborative efforts to improve the health and welfare of both countries’ citizens.
33. The Prime Minister and the President also agreed to expand the India-U.S. Health Initiative into a Healthcare Dialogue with relevant stakeholders to further strengthen bilateral collaboration in health sectors including through capacity building initiatives and by exploring new areas, including affordable healthcare, cost saving mechanisms, distribution barriers, patent quality, health services information technology, and complementary and traditional medicine. The President and the Prime Minister pledged to encourage dialogue between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Indian counterparts on traditional medicine. The Leaders also pledged to strengthen collaboration, dialogue, and cooperation between the regulatory authorities of the two countries to ensure safety, efficacy, and quality of pharmaceuticals, including generic medicines.
34. The Leaders also agreed to accelerate joint leadership of the global Call to Action to end preventable deaths among mothers and children through a third meeting of the 24 participating countries in India in June 2015. As host, India will showcase the power of new partnerships, innovations and systems to more effectively deliver life-saving interventions. They also lauded the highly successful collaboration on a locally produced vaccine against rotavirus which will save the lives of an estimated 80,000 children each year in India alone, and pledged to strengthen the cooperation in health research and capacity building through a new phase of the India-U.S. Vaccine Action Programme.
Defence and Homeland Security Cooperation
35. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama welcomed the efforts made by both sides to expand bilateral defence cooperation in areas of mutual interest and reaffirmed their commitment to continue to work towards deepening the bilateral defence relationship. The Leaders acknowledged bilateral military ties as the foundation of the defense relationship and encouraged their respective militaries to pursue additional opportunities for engagement through exercises, military personnel exchanges, and defense dialogues.
36. The Leaders also acknowledged the need for the two-way defence engagement to include technology cooperation and collaboration, co-production and co-development. To this end, the President and the Prime Minister emphasized the ongoing importance of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) in developing new areas of technology cooperation in the defence sector including through co-development and co-production and the Prime Minister welcomed the U.S. Defense Department’s establishment of a dedicated rapid reaction team focused exclusively on advancing DTTI. The Leaders expressed confidence that continued DTTI collaboration will yield additional joint projects in the near future.
37. The President also welcomed the Prime Minister`s initiatives to liberalize the Foreign Direct Investment Policy regime in the defence sector and the Leaders agreed to cooperate on India`s efforts to establish a defence industrial base in India, including through initiatives like `Make in India.`
38. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama expressed satisfaction over the efforts made by both countries to deepen cooperation in the field of maritime security, as reflected in the 2015 Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship. To this end, they agreed that the navies of both sides would continue discussions to identify specific areas for expanding maritime cooperation. They also reiterated their commitment to upgrading their bilateral naval exercise MALABAR.
39. The two sides also noted the growing cooperation between their law enforcement agencies, particularly in the areas of extradition and mutual legal assistance, to counter transnational criminal threats such as terrorism, narcotics, trafficking, financial and economic fraud, cybercrime, and transnational organized crime and pledged to enhance such cooperation further. The President and the Prime Minister also noted the serious risks to national and economic security from malicious cyber activity and agreed to cooperate on enhancing operational sharing of cyber threat information, examining how international law applies in cyberspace, and working together to build agreement on norms of responsible state behavior.
40. The Leaders committed to undertake efforts to make the U.S.-India partnership a defining counterterrorism relationship for the 21st Century by deepening collaboration to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats and keep their respective homelands and citizens safe from attacks. The Leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations with ‘zero tolerance’ and reaffirmed their deep concern over the continued threat posed by transnational terrorism including by groups like Al Qaida and the ISIL, and called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and stopping cross-border movement of terrorists.
41. The Leaders reaffirmed the need for joint and concerted efforts to disrupt entities such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company and the Haqqani Network, and agreed to continue ongoing efforts through the Homeland Security Dialogue as well as the next round of the U.S.-India Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism in late 2015 to develop actionable elements of bilateral engagement. The two sides noted the recent U.S. sanctions against three D Company affiliates. The President and the Prime Minister further agreed to continue to work toward an agreement to share information on known and suspected terrorists. They also agreed to enter discussions to deepen collaboration on UN terrorist designations, and reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice.
42. The President and the Prime Minister also noted the positive cooperative engagement between the Indian and the U.S. authorities with a view to working together to counter the threat of IEDs and to develop counterterrorism best practices. Energy and Climate Change
43. Noting that the Contact Group set up in September 2014 to advance implementation of bilateral civil nuclear cooperation has met three times in December and January, the Leaders welcomed the understandings reached on the issues of civil nuclear liability and administrative arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation, and looked forward to U.S.-built nuclear reactors contributing to India’s energy security at the earliest.
Clean Energy Goal and Cooperation
44. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi emphasized the critical importance of expanding clean energy research, development, manufacturing and deployment, which increases energy access and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The leaders announced actions to advance India`s transition to low carbon economy. India intends to increase the share of use of renewable in electricity generation consistent with its intended goal to increase India`s solar target to 100 gigawatts by 2022. The United States intends to support India`s goal by enhancing cooperation on clean energy and climate change, to include:
i. Expanding Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research (PACE-R): A renewed commitment to PACE-R, including extending funding for three existing research tracks of solar energy, building energy efficiency, and biofuels for an additional five years and launching a new track on smart grid and grid storage.
ii. Expanding Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Deployment (PACE-D): Both the countries intended to expand our current Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Deployment (PACE-D) through increased bilateral engagements and further joint initiatives to expand cooperation in support of India’s ambitious targets in renewable energy.
iii. Accelerating Clean Energy Finance: Prime Minister Modi emphasized India`s ongoing efforts to create a market environment that will promote trade and investment in this sector. President Obama welcomed India`s ambitious solar energy goals and encouraged India to continue its efforts to increase trade and private investment in this sector. President Obama conveyed the potential availability of U.S. Government official financing in this area, consistent with its policies, to support private sector involvement for those entities in contributing to India’s clean energy requirements.
iv. Launching Air Quality Cooperation: Implementing EPA’s AIR Now-International Program and megacities partnerships, focused on disseminating information to help the urban dwellers to reduce their exposure to harmful levels of air pollution, and enable urban policy planners to implement corrective strategies for improving Ambient Air Quality in the cities keeping in view health and climate change co-benefits of these strategies.
v. Initiating Climate Resilience Tool Development: Jointly undertaking a partnership on climate resilience that will work to downscale international climate models for the Indian sub-continent to much higher resolution than currently available, assess climate risks at the sub-national level, work with local technical institutes on capacity building, and engage local decision-makers in the process of addressing climate information needs and informing planning and climate resilient sustainable development, including for India’s State Action Plans.
vi. Demonstrating Clean Energy and Climate Initiatives on the Ground: Additional pilot programs and other collaborative projects in the areas of space cooling, super-efficient appliances, renewable energy storage, and smart grids.
vii. Concluding MOU on Energy Security, Clean Energy and Climate Change: Both countries concluded negotiations on a five year MOU to carry this work forward, to be signed as early as possible at a mutually agreed upon date.
Climate Change
45. The United States of America and the Republic of India recognize that global climate change is a profound threat to humanity and to the imperatives of sustainable development, growth and the eradication of poverty. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi share a deep concern regarding the climate challenge and understand that meeting it will require concerted action by their countries and the international community. They stressed the importance of enhancing their bilateral cooperation on adaptation measures, as well as joint research and development and technology innovation, adoption and diffusion for clean energy and efficiency solutions that will help achieve the goals of transitioning to a climate resilient and low carbon economy. They also stressed the importance of working together and with other countries to conclude an ambitious climate agreement in Paris in 2015. To this end, they plan to cooperate closely over the next year to achieve a successful agreement in Paris. The President and Prime Minister reaffirmed their prior understanding from September 2014 concerning the phase down of HFCs and agreed to cooperate on making concrete progress in the Montreal Protocol this year.
Global Issues and Regional Consultations
46. The Leaders agreed to expand their efforts to assist other developing countries and address global development challenges for the benefit of the wider region and the world and they lauded ongoing triangular assistance, which may involve U.S.-India collaboration to address development challenges in third countries in areas including health, energy, food security, disaster management, and women’s empowerment. The two sides noted that this collaboration, which is active with Afghanistan, East and West Africa, may be expanded to additional third countries.
47. Further underscoring the importance of implementing infrastructure projects to enhance connectivity and enable freer flow of commerce and energy in the region, the Leaders agreed to develop additional areas in which both sides could work together, including on India`s initiatives to enhance its connectivity with the South and South East Asian region. The President and the Prime Minister also stressed the importance of the economic and transport connectivity between Central and South Asia and the need to promote a secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan as part of a secure, stable, and prosperous region. Reaffirming the importance of their strategic partnerships with Afghanistan, the Leaders asserted the importance of a sustainable, inclusive, sovereign, and democratic political order in Afghanistan and they agreed to convene further high-level consultations on Afghanistan in the near future.
48. The President and the Prime Minister also welcomed the role of the leaders- led East Asia Summit (EAS) process in promoting open, balanced and inclusive security architecture in the region. Noting the discussions in the sixth round of the India-US-Japan Trilateral Dialogue, the President and the Prime Minister underlined the importance of the cooperation between the three countries through identification of projects of common interest and their early implementation, and they decided to explore holding the dialogue among their Foreign Ministers.
49. The President and Prime Minister pledged to strengthen their efforts to forge a partnership to lead global efforts for non-proliferation of WMDs, to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs, and to promote universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory global nuclear disarmament. They supported negotiations on a fissile material cut-off Treaty on the basis of the Shannon Mandate in the Conference on Disarmament.
50. As active participants in the Nuclear Security Summit process, the United States and India welcomed progress towards reducing the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons or related materials, and noted their shared commitment to improving nuclear security nationally and globally. The Prime Minister welcomed the hosting of the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit by the United States. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi also welcomed the recent convening of the first bilateral nuclear security best practices exchange, under the auspices of the Global Center for Nuclear Energy Partnership, as an example of their cooperation on nuclear security.
51. In a further effort to strengthen global nonproliferation and export control regimes, the President and the Prime Minister committed to continue to work towards India’s phased entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group. The President reaffirmed the United States’ position that India meets MTCR requirements and is ready for NSG membership and that it supports India’s early application and eventual membership in all four regimes.
52. The Leaders expressed concern over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, including its uranium enrichment activity. They urged the DPRK to take concrete steps toward denuclearization, as well as to comply fully with its international obligations, including relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, and to fulfill its commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party talks.
53. The Leaders welcomed recent progress and noted the criticality of Iran taking steps to verifiably assure the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, and agreed that this is an historic opportunity for Iran to resolve outstanding concerns related to its nuclear programme.
54. Highlighting the United States` and India’s shared democratic values and recognizing the important role of women in their societies, the Leaders looked forward to reconvening the Women Empowerment Dialogue as early as possible and reasserted their zero tolerance for violence against women. The Leaders also looked forward to the reconvening of the Global Issues Forum.
55. The President and the Prime Minister also reaffirmed their commitment to consult closely on global crises, including in Iraq and Syria. The Leaders agreed to exchange information on individuals returning from these conflict zones and to continue to cooperate in protecting and responding to the needs of civilians caught up in these conflicts.
56. President Obama reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member, and both leaders committed to ensuring that the Security Council continues to play an effective role in maintaining international peace and security as envisioned in the United Nations Charter. They also committed to accelerate their peacekeeping capacity-building efforts in third countries.
57. Both sides also acknowledged that the Internet was a central element of the information society and a powerful enabler of global economic and social progress. Both sides also noted that the growth of the Internet in the coming decade would be from developing countries, of which India would be a significant contributor, especially in the context of its "Digital India" programme.
58. The Leaders recognized that a digital divide persists between and within countries in terms of the availability, affordability and use of information and communications technologies, and they stressed the need to continue to bridge that divide, to ensure that the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications technologies for development, are available to all people, including the poorest of the poor.
59. President Obama thanked Prime Minister Modi and the people of India for the extraordinary hospitality extended to him on his second presidential visit to India, and he congratulated the nation on the celebration of its 66th Republic Day. The Leaders reflected proudly on recent achievements and looked forward to continuing to work together to build a U.S.-India partnership that is transformative for their two peoples and for the world.

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Why Was Chandrayaan-3 Touchdown Spot Named 'Shiv Shakti'? PM Modi Explains

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Why Was Chandrayaan-3 Touchdown Spot Named 'Shiv Shakti'? PM Modi Explains
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PM Modi's interview to The Tribune
May 27, 2024

Ahead of the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections in eight states and UTs, including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, on June 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took time off from his hectic campaign schedule to speak to Associate Editor Aditi Tandon on a range of issues and narratives dominating the poll landscape. In a candid interview, the Prime Minister fielded questions on the ongoing farmers protests in Punjab and Haryana, the BJP’s decision to sever ties with erstwhile ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab, the “ghuspethiya” remarks with reference to Muslims he made at the Banswara rally in Rajasthan on April 21, the BJP-led NDA’s seat assessment and the state of the opposition INDIA bloc. PM Modi, eyeing a historic third term in office — a first for any prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru — exuded confidence on the strength of his 10-year record as PM. The Prime Minister spoke of his Viksit Bharat @ 2047 platform and reiterated the BJP’s commitment to taking the Uniform Civil Code forward. He admitted the BJP had not been able to rise to its full potential in Punjab because of its pact with SAD, but with the alliance now having ended, the party would emerge as a strong force in the state. Excerpts: 

You have said you are going to the people with a 10-year record. What in your view is your most abiding legacy after two terms as Prime Minister and your most important achievement?

For decades now, I have lived with the motto of dedicating myself fully for the nation and the welfare of the people. My focus is on bringing a positive transformation in the lives of the people and therefore, things like legacy do not matter to me.

Further, when it comes to achievements, there is nothing that one person or even a government can achieve, without the people’s blessings and participation.

After six phases of voting, my assessment is that the people of the country are blessing us with a historic, record-breaking win

So, I can speak of the nation’s important achievements in the past 10 years.

At the very top would be the fact that 25 crore people have won the battle against poverty. Because this means, 25 crore people got the ability to dream and opportunity to fulfil dreams. It means 25 crore people could live a better life in the present and also give a better future to their future generations.

Further, whether it is the poor, farmers, women or underprivileged sections of society, they were kept deprived of even the basic human necessities for 60 years.

But we could serve them by taking crores of toilets, tap water connections, electricity connections, LPG and health coverage to them. This not only gave them a better life but also helped them not go through the indignities that a life of deprivation subjects people to.

The fact that crores of people were positively impacted by these initiatives is a big inspiration to us.

At the same time, while working on the basics, we have also focused on aspirational goals, like taking optic fibre, mobiles and inexpensive data to even villages, making the country a leader in digital payments, making the country a bigger space power, etc.

The cumulative impact of all of these initiatives — the birth of self-confidence in Indians that our nation is meant for great things — is something that I am greatly enthused by.

One of the key issues in the election campaign this time is the Constitution and quota debate. You say Congress will dilute quotas to benefit Muslims; they say you will abolish quotas? Which one is true?

I would request respectable media houses like yours to do a simple fact check.

We have been in power for 10 years at the Centre with massive mandates. Our big mandate helped us do things that were thought to be impossible, such as abrogation of Article 370, outlawing Triple Talaq, etc.

Anyone would tell you that a government that could take such big decisions could do anything it wanted. What did we do? We actually extended reservations for more years.

At the same time, we also ran a government with the maximum number of SC/ST/OBC ministers. Even the number of SC/ST/OBC MPs and MLAs are highest in our party. Further, we gave constitutional status to the OBC Commission, which the Congress never did.

The enthusiasm among first-time voters and the younger generation during my election campaigns inspired me to think of a blueprint for the first 125 days of the youth. Today’s youth will ultimately drive India towards Viksit Bharat

So, our track record of commitment to the welfare of SC/ST/OBC communities is clear.

Now, when it comes to the Congress, we are not just saying they will dilute quotas to benefit their vote banks but we are saying they have already done it in various states when they were in power.

They have also openly declared, when they were in power at the Centre, that they intend to bring in reservations on the basis of religion, despite knowing well that is unconstitutional.

Recently, Calcutta High Court scrapped Other Backward Classes (OBCs) certificates awarded to 77 communities since 2010 in West Bengal, an overwhelming majority of whom were Muslim, and called the classification process illegal.

So, they have an actual track record of diluting the quotas meant for SC/ST/OBC communities. Even now, I have challenged Congress leaders multiple times. I have asked them to declare they will not bring in reservations for their vote banks. But they have not uttered a word about it.

So, as a credible media house, now, can you tell me whose side facts are on and who is making false claims?

After six phases of voting, what’s your assessment? Opposition says low voter turnout signals a no wave election and you won’t cross 200 seats.

After six phases of voting, my assessment is that the people of the country are blessing us with a historic, record-breaking win.

Also, it is clear that the Congress is repeating its listless performance like in 2014 and 2019.

Further, due to their abysmal performance, the INDIA bloc, which is an opportunistic group without any vision or mission, will break apart after the elections. Knowing this, even their own cadre is not turning out to vote for them.

Our big mandate helped us do things that were thought to be impossible, such as abrogation of Article 370, outlawing Triple Talaq, etc.

Anyone will tell you that a government that can take such big decisions can do anything it wanted… We extended reservations

Even neutral analysts would be amused about the Opposition’s claims that we won’t cross 200 seats in the election.

Many people are saying that the NDA has already crossed the majority mark in just five phases, let alone the whole election!

How would you describe the opposition INDIA alliance?

Congress has accused AAP of orchestrating a liquor scam in Delhi.

The names that AAP people called the Congress in Punjab are the kind of names that even we would not.

AAP has accused the Congress of inflicting violence on Sikhs in Delhi.

Congress has accused AAP of being involved with terrorists in Punjab.

But both the parties are together in fighting elections in Delhi but not in Punjab.

In Delhi, they say ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’ and in Punjab they say ‘Hum Aapke Hai Kaun’.

This is just the trailer of their supposed alliance. If I start going into the contradictions in Kerala, Bengal, Tamil Nadu and other states, then you will run out of space in your newspaper.

They have no agreement on policies, no consensus on leadership and certainly no vision for the nation beyond somehow gaining power by hook or crook.

Therefore, while the top leaders of these parties are being seen together for the time being, there is no collaboration among them. There is no coordination among their cadre either.

So, the only thing these people can give the country is instability and a weak government.

Though ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ is your motto and government schemes seek to benefit everyone equally, why did you recently speak of Muslims as infiltrators and mention ‘children with more kids’?

When I say illegal infiltrators or people with more children, why are you assuming that I was referring to Muslims?

In fact, most of the successful flagship schemes of our government have minorities as a big chunk among the beneficiaries due to our saturation approach.

However, there is one point that needs to be made here. When I question the Congress’ divisive policies that aim to appease Muslims and distance them from the societal mainstream, I am speaking against the Congress, not against Muslims. This much is clear to anyone who actually listens to what I am saying.

In fact, speaking against appeasement politics is the most pro-Muslim stance one can take. Because the biggest victims of appeasement politics have been Muslims themselves. Congress got votes in their name, formed governments in their name, but never did anything to actually make their lives better.

Even today, the Congress’ politics solely rests on trying to hold Muslim votes hostage by creating a fear psychosis among them that their religion is in danger if Muslims don’t vote for the Congress. So, the Congress has no incentive to further education or empowerment among the community.

But steadily and surely, even Muslims are beginning to see through the Congress’ game.

Several farmers continue to protest for legalisation of MSP on the borders of Haryana and Punjab and are preventing BJP leaders from canvassing in villages. Your comments and message?

Thank you for this very important question.

Firstly, it is our government which has implemented MSP in its true letter and spirit. In the last ten years, my government has increased the value of MSP and the volume of crops procured under MSP. My government started the direct transfer of MSP into the bank accounts of the farmers of Punjab. We understand the needs of the farmers of Punjab and Haryana, and we have always worked with them on the MSP issue. We are willing to go one step ahead. We are not only ensuring MSP on staple crops like paddy and wheat, which are grown extensively in this region, but we are also incentivising farmers to grow pulses that have a strong demand in the market and can help the farmers improve their earnings significantly.

We want the willing farmers to embrace crop diversification and give them the necessary monetary and policy security cover. Also, crop diversification is an idea which has been supported by other parties too in the past. They have backtracked on it for political reasons, but the cost of politics should be something other than the future of the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. The MSP is not going anywhere. Instead, it is being expanded to empower the farmers for the future and safeguard the ecology of the region. Our farmers are a critical component of the ‘India Growth Story’; therefore, my government wants to enable and empower them for the future, along with catering to their needs in the present.

The Akali Dal was your oldest alliance partner and yet you two fell out over the farm laws. Why did this happen? Do you regret this was not handled better?

Over the last few years, a few things happened which has led to a lot of traditional Akali Dal supporters feeling disappointed.

The first was Parkash Singh Badal Sahab’s personal electoral defeat, and that too at such a stage of his life.

Subsequently, the passing of Badal Sahab left a void that was irreplaceable.

At the same time, the Akali Dal began to disintegrate, with very experienced leaders either reducing political activity or parting ways with it.

And, add to that the series of electoral routs.

All of these happenings have hurt every Akali Dal worker. A lot of them have privately even expressed their despair to me. A lot of people who think of the progress of Punjab tried to reform the Akali Dal and ensure it moves with the times but their efforts failed.

For every Indian, Punjab is a crucial state with a history of rich contribution to national development. Thus, it is not possible for our party to remain silent while the people of the state are unhappy. It is incumbent upon us to work even harder and ensure the people of the state are not unhappy.

The levels of unhappiness will surprise you all. In 2022, the people of Punjab were so disillusioned that they gave a mandate to AAP but they have only made things worse.

In such times, our duty is even more and thus, we are going to the people with our vision and good governance track record. We have taken this decision after much thought and the people are showing immense affection towards us.

We are going to the people with a single aim- the welfare of Punjab. Like our party transformed the growth trajectory of several states, we want to do the same for Punjab, be it in agriculture, industries, services, startups, healthcare, education, technology, transport, railways, environment, culture, tourism and more.

I want to specially highlight agriculture here. As Gujarat CM, whenever we hosted a big programme relating to the sector, I would invite Badal Sahab. He would not only attend but also praise the work we are doing in Gujarat. Like in all other things, Badal Sahab’s insights on agriculture helped me immensely and given the opportunity, we will work to fulfil his vision in this sector as well.

What is your assessment of the Punjab Lok Sabha poll, specially as you are contesting alone for the first time?

In one word — excellent!

Whomsoever's heart beats for Punjab and whoever wants a glorious future for Punjab… Such people are joining us and are seeing BJP with great hope. Our cadre is fully energised as well. Our candidates in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls are a great mix of youth, experience, successful professionals and grassroots level leaders.

Today in Punjab we are seeing the following aspects:

Disgust with AAP, due to their abysmal governance and record corruption.

Disillusionment with Congress, due to their inability to look beyond one family, and that too a family which has seldom respected Sikh sentiments.

Disappointment with Akali Dal, for reasons I already mentioned.

A large section of Punjabi society, especially the youth and women, are seeing how the philosophy of the current leadership in Punjab mirrors the ideology of urban Naxals. They feel that Punjab has just about emerged from the shadows of violence and bloodshed, and now again those with an urban Naxal bent of mind will take it on the wrong path. People are worried and feel it is only the BJP which can not only save Punjab, but also put it firmly on the path of peace, progress and prosperity.

Why has the BJP, a dominant force in the North, struggled for a foothold in Punjab?

Your question is not fully correct. If you evaluate our performance in the previous Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections, we have done well. Last two Lok Sabha polls we won two of the three seats we contested. For the longest time, our MLAs played an important role in the state government. But, despite all this, we remained humble and grounded which is why you feel we have struggled for a foothold. You may have also noted that the Punjabi community was our strongest support base in Delhi.

But yes, due to our alliance in Punjab we were not able to rise to our full potential. Now with the alliance over, we are all set to become an even stronger force in the state. The results and the mood of the people in the coming days will stun you but remember, I told you first that BJP is rising steadily in Punjab.

How would you describe your ties with the Sikh community?

I have had a long association with the Sikh community. I have worked extensively in Punjab and have lived there for years.

When a devastating earthquake hit Kutch, a deeply revered Sikh site in Kutch, Lakhpat Sahib Gurdwara, was completely destroyed. It was a place where Guru Nanak Dev Ji had stayed twice during his travels and was an important Sikh pilgrimage site. As CM, I ensured that the Gurdwara is restored to its past glory.

Post 2014, we have taken a number of steps to preserve and promote the rich Sikh heritage and culture. In 2019, the long awaited Kartarpur corridor was opened, which made it possible for Sikh pilgrims from India to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev Ji lived out his final years.

In 2021, we ensured safe evacuation of Sikhs from war-torn Afghanistan and also ensured that the sacred Guru Granth Sahib was flown in with absolute reverence and dignity.

We declared December 26 as Veer Bal Diwas to commemorate the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas Zorawar Singh Ji and Fateh Singh Ji, the brave sons of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Sikh community has contributed immensely to nation building.

Do you think BJP will open its account in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh? How many seats will you win?

For decades, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala voters have voted for the same parties. These parties have promised to deliver development every election for decades. And if there is any scope for development, only certain sections were considered for these developmental schemes.

In 1984, when the BJP won two seats in India, one was from South India. So, for us, North and South have never been different.

In the 2019 parliamentary elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the South, boasting the highest number of MPs. This victory is a testament to the voters’ choice of development over divisive politics. The people’s rejection of the North-South divide narrative is a clear indication of their informed understanding of how countries can develop and progress.

Take a closer look at how the states have been governed under the opposition parties. The leaders who claim to lead based on family ties, have amassed unimaginable wealth. However, the state’s finances are in disarray, and the people have come to realise how they are being exploited. They are now resorting to legal action to secure their salaries and pensions for the poor.

In this election, the voters will also send a strong message through their votes. The number of seats will significantly increase this time, and South India will show faith in our abilities.

The Enforcement Directorate arrested Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal just before the elections; the SC gave him an interim bail a few days ago. The Opposition is accusing the ED of being a sword arm of the government...

Don’t listen to me or them. Just check what the High Court has said.

The Delhi High Court has highlighted that the evidence reveals a conspiracy orchestrated at the highest levels. It also indicates that the Delhi Chief Minister was personally involved in perpetrating the scam. In a recent order, the Court again denied bail to their co-accused and deputy, noting that the accused was involved in destroying electronic evidence. They even fabricated public opinion on the liquor policy!

These individuals never miss an opportunity to denigrate our institutions. Yet, these are the same institutions that granted them bail. Such hypocrisy is harmful to the nation’s well-being.

These agencies are established for law enforcement and tackling financial fraud. They are doing their job in a free and fair manner.

Those claiming they are being targeted are the ones from whom mountains of cash have been seized. Yes, the corrupt are being targeted. The entire country saw the heaps of cash recovered by the agencies, which shows that the ED and the CBI are on the right track. Besides, the accusations are baseless; only 3% of all ED cases pertain to politicians, while the remaining 97% involve bureaucrats or officials. In the last 10 years, the amount seized has exceeded Rs 1.25 lakh crore, with Rs. 17,000 crore already returned to the citizens.

Your main poll promises — Ram Mandir, abrogation of Article 370 and commencement of work on UCC — have been fulfilled. What next?

These are not merely core issues of the BJP. These are the issues close to the heart of people and of the entire nation and it is their expectation from us.

People are happy that in a short period, we have managed to clear the path for effectively resolving long-standing issues that have plagued the country for decades. The grand temple of Shri Ram Lalla has become a reality, with crores of devotees visiting Ayodhya for his darshan. After the abrogation of Article 370, a new era of peace, prosperity, and democracy is emerging in Jammu and Kashmir. Our party is also committed to bringing the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) to its logical conclusion.

Now our main driving force is the vision of Viksit Bharat by 2047. I have received over 15 lakh suggestions from across the country. Based on this input, we have outlined a vision for 2047, a roadmap for the next five years, and a mission document for the first 125 days of our third term.

If re-elected, what will be your top target for the first 125 days?

We are planning for the future; we are planning for 2047. In this long journey, we have to begin with the first step. I have given this direction to my team, and my team has been discussing various aspects.

We were planning for 100 days, but we have now thought to take this to 125 days; the additional 25 days would be for the country’s youth. The youth play a critical role in shaping the nation’s future. The enthusiasm, especially among first-time voters and the younger generation during my election campaigns, inspired me to think of a blueprint for the first 125 days of the youth. And this is a reality that we need to take the youth into confidence. Today’s youth will ultimately drive India towards Viksit Bharat, and hence, we must secure their future and fulfil their aspirations.

Source: The Tribune