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India, US partnership to shape 21st century: Envoys

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US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel looks on as he attends an Observer Research Foundation conference in New Delhi on August 9, 2014. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met India's prime minister in Delhi, seeking to boost weapons sales to a new government eager to modernise its military. India is the world's biggest arms importer and military trade is high on the agenda for the three-day trip, which comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first official visit to Washington next month. AFP PHOTO/RAVEENDRAN
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Washington: Close collaboration between India and US in the years ahead can shape the 21st century with a big impact upon global peace and prosperity, according to the two countries’ envoys in each other’s capitals.

Photo: www.indianembassy.org
Photo: www.indianembassy.org

“As US-India ties continue to blossom, the true test of our defining partnership for the 21st century will be how it benefits not just our common citizens but also the global commons,” wrote Indian ambassador Arun Singh and US ambassador Richard Verma in a rare joint article published here on Monday.

“The fact is, we are stronger when we work together, and our close collaboration in the years ahead can have a big impact upon global peace and prosperity,” they said in an op-ed in the Huffington Post titled “India And The US Partnering To Shape The 21st Century.”

The article marking the 10-year anniversary of the landmark US-India civil nuclear deal noted how the initiative had transformed the two countries’ bilateral relationship into a strategic partnership built on mutual trust and natural affinity.

“The historic visits of Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi to the United States and President Barack Obama to India helped our relationship soar, moving us past old disagreements and paving the way forward for even more ambitious new collaborations,” Singh and Verma noted.

Since Obama’s January visit to India, the two nations “are now working on new initiatives from the outer reaches of space to the depths of the oceans,” they said.

“Our leaders’ vision of a rules-based international order where disputes between states are settled peacefully, trade flows more freely and clean energy reduces the threat of climate change offers the best promise of a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable century than the past one.”

“Given our shared democratic values, multicultural traditions, robust people-to-people ties and convergent economic and security interests, we are natural partners, and indeed on a course to be best partners,” the two envoys wrote.

“In a world filled with complex security and economic challenges, this relationship matters more now than ever before,” Singh and Verma wrote.

“That’s why our leaders have aggressively set out to increase our defense cooperation, create greater economic opportunities for our people and work more closely on climate change,” they wrote.

“Our national interests are converging on the vital issues of the day.”

While US infrastructure and technology firms are ready to bring their expertise to Modi’s ambitious plan to build 100 smart cities by 2020, the envoys noted, Indian firms and investors are increasingly present in the US to help power America’s growth and to create jobs.

“Beyond the strategic and economic ties, our people continue to bring us closer together,” they wrote.

The Indian diaspora has not only made enormous contributions to every facet of American society, Singh and Verma noted, they are increasingly giving back to their ancestral home, as well.

“In India, Americans and Indians are working closely together to spur advances in medicine, science and technology, helping to power India’s growth and improving the lives of ordinary Indian citizens.”

India and the United States are also increasingly cooperating to meet development challenges in India and around the world, the two envoys noted.

(IANS)

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Madhya Pradesh Waives off $5.3Bn in Farm Debt

The western state of Maharashtra and northern state of Uttar Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, announced similar loan waivers last year.

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India, farmers, farm
Farmers march towards the parliament house during a rally to protest soaring farm operating costs and plunging prices of their produce, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The new leader of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is to waive up to $5.3 billion of farm loans, becoming the latest area to offer relief ahead of a national election next year as farmers reel from losses caused by falling crop prices.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party lost the central state to Congress last week dealing Modi his biggest defeat since he took office in 2014 and boosting the opposition ahead of the vote next year.

Congress leader Kamal Nath, who became chief minister of the state on Monday, decided to write off farmers’ loans up to 200,000 rupees, according to a notification.

farmers, Bank
Police try to stop farmers during a protest demanding a better price for their produce on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. VOA

Protests on the rise

Farmers’ protests have been rising in past months due to the fall in crop prices and a rise in the cost of diesel and fertilizer.

Nearly 3.4 million farmers will benefit from the loan waiver, which is likely to cost between 350 billion rupees ($4.9 billion) to 380 billion rupees ($5.3 billion), Rajesh Rajora, the state’s principal secretary for agriculture, told Reuters.

Also Read: Arvind Kejriwal Accuses Modi Government of Betraying Farmers

The western state of Maharashtra and northern state of Uttar Pradesh, both ruled by the BJP, announced similar loan waivers last year. (VOA)