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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

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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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

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The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)