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Wendy Sherman Under Secretary for Political AffairsAmerican Center
Under Secretary Sherman: When you have that kind of introduction, you should stop.
I am very very grateful, Tarun, for that introduction and as Tarun knows, for years I have coveted his former title as Chief Mentor. Who wouldnt want to be a Chief Mentor? And Tarun has been that for me. A Chief Mentor about the U.S.-India relationship, about diplomacy. I spent a decade in the private sector and through CII Tarun has been a leader in understanding how important the private sector is to the development of sustainable democratic market economies. Also I cannot hesitate to mention, since we just finished Womens History Month and youve seen all the great exhibits here at the Center, Im the first woman Under Secretary for Political Affairs in U.S. history. But Tarun has understood for a long time what many of us know, and that is to get things done takes great women. There are two, both CII and Aspen, sitting here, and my good friend Kiran who we miss dearly in Washington and are only happy that she is here now in Delhi. Its so good to see you.
Before I make my remarks I want to acknowledge one other really extraordinary professional and that is our Charge DAffaires, Peter Burleigh.
As many of you in this audience know, also apropos Womens History Month, America is about to send to India the first woman ever to be an Ambassador to India, Nancy Powell. She was just confirmed by the Senate a few days ago and will be here, I hope, later this month. But we are indeed privileged and honored and ever so grateful that Ambassador Burleigh, who understands and knows and has so many friends here in India, came to serve as the Charge DAffaires for these last many months. He came here only for two or three. He gets teased mercilessly that he has to go buy more suits because hes been here longer than he expected. But he is dapper as usual and ready to do whatever is necessary. And I know that all of you will join me in applause for this wonderful man who has led our Embassy and led U.S. interests, and most importantly, led the deepening of the partnership and the friendship between the United States and India for all these many months. He is not gone yet, but when he goes I know you will have him back often because we will all miss him being here.
I want to do an official thanks to Aspen India. As a former Aspen Strategy Group member I applaud the visionary ethos that defines the Strategy Group Track II diplomatic efforts, and I see some of my former Track II colleagues here.
Aspens vital U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue is just one example of all of those Track II efforts. Speaking to you now as the Under Secretary for Political Affairs and now a practitioner of decidedly more Track I efforts, I cant even begin to commend the work that Aspen does and the importance of that Track II work. Both Kiran and of course Tarun and all of the members of the Aspen Strategy Group, all of the colleagues that are here today, are old friends with whom I have learned much if not most of what I know about India.
Id also like to thank the Confederation of Indian Industry for co-sponsoring this event. CIIs tireless advocacy in improving business and trade ties between our nation is lost on no one. Their vital work 117 years on makes them a force for good in India and across the world, cultivating the very people-to-people linkages that so poignantly define our relationship.
Ive also had the privilege of witnessing Indias stunning economic transformation from the perspective of a businesswoman for the last decade before I came back into public service. My travels have taken me to your beautiful villages, and your very bustling cities. Through these disparate journeys there is one constant that endures for me -- my admiration for India and for its people.
I speak to today you from our American Center here in the heart of New Delhi. From where we sit roads fan out across this great and ancient land to the thriving high-tech hubs of Bangalore and Hyderabad, to the growing manufacturing centers of Pune and Chennai, and to east-west trade bridges of Kolkata and Amritsar. Few places better symbolize the vibrant ties between the United States and India than the American Center, a place where Indians come each day to meet, discuss, debate, and research, all while improving their understanding of the world and United States. I hope very soon there will be a similar venue for American students and travelers from around the United States to learn and appreciate Indias rich history and culture, at the now agreed-to Indian Cultural Center in Washington, DC. I hope you all come visit that cultural center when you visit the U.S. as you are here today visiting the American Center.
As Under Secretary for Political Affairs, my portfolio covers the entire the globe - which involves everything from dealing with challenges like Iran to maintaining our close friendships with friends and partners. Our partnership has undergone a spectacular transformation since I was last in government as Counselor at the State Department during the tenure of Secretary Albright.
I recall President Clintons visit in 2000, which laid the foundation for our renewed engagement that culminated in the historic U.S.-India civil nuclear deal. My predecessors - Nicholas Burns and William Burns. I probably should be Wendy Burns, but that was not to be - both played an instrumental role in shepherding this relationship over what I like to call the transformational decade. With their indefatigable Indian counterparts - Nirupama Rao, Shankar Menon, Shyam Saran - they built the framework for the robust partnership we see today. I know that Dr. Henry Kissinger was just here in Delhi a few weeks ago and we should all consider how far this relationship has come from when he was in charge! He is a dear and good friend and I have read his remarks about his visit here and as always with great insight and understanding.
But despite all the progress weve witnessed, we still hear today talk of the relationship somehow being adrift. The commentariat may never be satisfied in either of our countries, but let me assure you what I know you know to be true. This is a partnership built on substance, not just rhetoric. Ask our diplomats around the world who are forging new levels of cooperation, our scientists and educators who are engaging in cutting edge research at top universities, our military personnel conducting joint exercises in the deserts of Rajasthan and the shores of Alaska.
Today, Id like to take stock of the bilateral relationship and where we stand nearly two years after President Obamas historic visit here. At a time when observers of this relationship have some questions about its depth, I want to be frank about where our challenges lie. I want to also be equally open about the amazing opportunities I see before us and outline an ambitious agenda for the future.
Since Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna established our bilateral Strategic Dialogue in 2009, which will take place again in June in Washington, we have seen unprecedented levels of cooperation across the gamut of global and regional issues; economic, trade and investment; clean energy and climate change; education and development; and science and technology, health and innovation. Our cooperation is very strong and will only grow further when the Strategic Dialogue takes place again in June.
Here are just a few things weve accomplished over the last few months:
In trade and investment, the ties between our countries are strong and growing stronger. Bilateral trade topped 90 billion dollars in 2011, and will undoubtedly pass 100 billion dollars this year. Thats an extraordinary sum that I think most of our citizens in both of our countries simply are not aware of.
Weve had two cabinet level visits this year. Secretary of Commerce Bryson was in India just last week to support trade and investment opportunities in Indias fast-growing infrastructure development. During her January visit, Secretary Sebelius of our Health and Human Services Department commemorated the Indian Global Disease and Detection Center, the 7th regional center in a global network, as a concrete example of a very extraordinary health partnership. Dr. Shah of USAID also visited in December and announced an agreement between USAID the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to establish a platform that would support innovators from both countries to develop creative solutions to global problems.
The newly launched Open Government platform draws on the talents and accomplishments of one of the key sectors in our business and people-to-people relationships - the leading role of Indian and American software and technology innovators and developers. It also reflects the desire of both countries to make government more transparent, more accountable, more efficient and better serve our people. The decision to share this platform with third countries, for free, shows the promise of the U.S.-India relationship to promote our common values and our vision around the world.
In educating the next generation of leaders, the Fulbright-Nehru scholarship program has expanded, thanks to equal funding from the Government of India and the U.S. government, to become the largest exchange of Fulbright scholars in the world with over 80 awards each year. In June, the new Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative will announce its first eight grants, totalling 2 million dollars, which will strengthen collaboration and build partnerships between American and Indian institutions of higher learning.
Reinforcing our ongoing engagement in the Asia-Pacific, India and the U.S. launched a trilateral dialogue with Japan in December. The next round of this dialogue will take place in the months to come.
Our defense cooperation continues to expand. We just completed joint Army exercises last month that were unprecedented in their complexity and scale. Later this month, our respective navies will participate in the MALABAR exercise that will literally involve thousands of sailors and more than a dozen ships.
Following through on a joint U.S.-India initiative announced during President Obamas visit, a group of 49 Afghan women recently completed vocational training here in India. As Minister Krishna stated at the Bonn Conference, both our countries have a deep interest in an enduring presence in Afghanistan and ensuring its emergence as regional hub for trade and commerce, which Ill discuss in a moment.
The Partnership to Advance Clean Energy announced by Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna in 2009 has set the standard for our whole-of-government approach to bilateral problem solving. In four years, we have mobilized over $4 billion for clean energy development and deployment. That number stands to increase.
The relationship, as you can see, is on a strong and positive trajectory. But I am not just a cheerleader nor am I Pollyanna. It is a reasonable question for Indians or Americans to ask, why? Why does this partnership matter? And the answer is because on nearly every matter of strategic importance the fundamental interests of the United States and India converge. This is not a formula for alignment. It is, however, the basis for a sustained, productive strategic partnership between our two countries - one based on shared prosperity, democratic values, and solving global and regional problems in a complex and interconnected world.
I dont want to paper over what I consider to be tactical more than substantive differences on some of our key challenges, so let me try to outline American policies and priorities on some key regional issues.
Recently the press has asserted that our two countries have divergent views on Iran. I want to correct the record. Our countries share the same fundamental goals -- preserving regional stability and preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Achieving these goals requires making hard choices. We do recognize Indias historical linkages with Iran and Persian culture and understand its interest in developing Iran as a gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
But we must also accept that the international community including and often a leader, led by India in its nonproliferation concerns, has serious and legitimate concerns about the nature of Irans nuclear activities, and India and the United States have voted together four times at the International Atomic Energy Agency on resolutions expressing these concerns. India recognizes that it does not need and does not want another nuclear armed state in the region, especially one that supports proxy groups.
We are serious about our efforts to seek a diplomatic resolution and our Government has made clear publicly and privately that we believe there is time and space for diplomacy, though that time is not unlimited. Engagement is at the core of the dual-track policy we are pursuing with our P5+1 partners, but we are also applying pressure to bring about the space and the will for engagement. We do not and never seek to undermine Indias energy security. Indias partnership and willingness to press Iran in whatever ways are appropriate for India to fulfill its international obligations, thats Irans international obligations, is essential for international efforts to be successful.
With regard to Afghanistan, theres no denying that this has been a difficult year so far. But no one -- neither in the United States nor in India -- doubts the importance of our mission and what is at stake. As India full well understands, we cannot allow Afghanistan to again become a safe haven for international terrorism. This means adhering to the transition process established at Lisbon; supporting Afghan-led reconciliation efforts consistent with international redlines; building Afghan capacity; expanding regional trade and commerce; and ensuring Afghanistans neighbors respect its sovereignty and security. We welcome and applaud the developmental support India has provided from investing in Afghanistans natural resources to training civil servants. Indias vision of an integrated and prosperous region -- articulated eloquently by Prime Minster Singh nearly five years ago - is one we wholeheartedly share and support.
At the Chicago Summit in May, the United States in partnership with NATO partners hopes to solidify long-term international support for Afghanistans security forces. This will send a powerful signal about our collective commitment to Afghanistans future. The United States is also working toward completing a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan that will outline the long-term parameters of that relationship. Let there be no doubt, we remain committed to Afghanistan through transition in 2014 and in many ways beyond.
Id also like to take a moment to note the extraordinary events taking place next door in Burma. As Secretary Clintons visit underscored, we are committed to supporting Burma on its new path. The elections which took place yesterday and were so utterly extraordinary, we believe and I know India has long believed mark an important step forward for democracy and national reconciliation. Though only a small number of parliamentary seats are at stake, with the inclusion of Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD yesterdays events mark the first opportunity for many Burmese voters to participate in what appears to have been a genuine multi-party election. Despite our past differences on how to approach Burma, I hope we can and I know we will work with India to foster this opening to Burma and build a brighter future for its citizens.
With regards to the U.S.-India partnership, what I think you can take away from this brief review is that we essentially share the same objectives. I think one might also conclude that there is a substantial role for the United States in many of Indias own foreign policy priorities, as we understand them. Our foreign policy goals increasingly require a strong, prosperous, and active India, and India needs the same from the United States. Sometimes I think that is overlooked in the context of strategic autonomy. Every country wants strategic autonomy to do what is in its own national security interests. In todays world of global markets and unconventional security challenges, I would argue that Indias close partnership with the United States and the United States close partnership with India actually gives each of us greater autonomy in the international system, not less, by furthering the rise of India as a global stakeholder and maintaining the United States role as a global power.
So what are the big differences I would ask? They are matters of perspective and tactics. Differences that can be overcome through steady and sustained consultation and engagement, which is what we are doing, which is why I am here only two months after my counterpart Foreign Secretary Mathai came to Washington.
What does the future then hold for our partnership? To speak about the future requires us to acknowledge some of the shared challenges we will face. For instance both nations face growing resource constraints. In short, we must do more with less. Even with the growth in your economy, the demands for industrialization are enormous. But we must also seize new opportunities so that when we look back from 2025 -- I hope to still be here in 2025 -- I want us to be in a place to say the world is safer, more prosperous, and greener because of the U.S.-India relationship.
We support a bilateral relationship that maximizes our commonalities and builds upon our potential . I assure you that the problems that well face in the next 5, 20, and even 100 years can only be solved by a United States and India that enjoy strategic, people-to-people, economic, and entrepreneurial interconnectivity.
We must work together to strengthen global economic and financial institutions . As Secretary Clinton noted last year, our foreign and economic relations remain indivisible. The United States is fully committed to a bilateral economic relationship that is mutually beneficial for both counties. Ambassador Rao is right to say that one of Indias foremost priorities must lie in intensified economic engagement with the world. Economic growth is a necessity for both our nations. Entrepreneurs in the United States and in India consistently push the envelope of what we think is possible, whether its the $35 tablet or innovations in manned space flight, and it is for their sake our respective governments must do all that we can not to limit full potential. We seek an ambitious economic partnership that will deliver the long-awaited benefits of a bilateral investment treaty, expanding opportunities for investors in both our countries, and doubling trade within the next decade.
We seek a robust multi-faceted relationship that gives officials outside Delhi and Washington a stake in the relationship, so that the mayor of Fresno, California can discuss new agricultural seed varieties with his counterpart in Punjab; or the Chief Minister of Rajasthan can exchange strategies for alternative energy with the Governor of Texas. My own home state has already sent Governor OMalley here to India to develop relations as well. Over the last decade growing relations between our states and cities have further incubated the vast people-to-people ties that are the foundation of our partnership. In the fields of education, business, or innovation, more connectivity is happening actually outside of Delhi and outside of Washington than ever before.
We envision an energy relationship where American-designed nuclear plants power homes in Andhra Pradesh and Atlanta alike, and our scientists work together to develop alternative energy sources that will meet the demands of tomorrow. A future where both our countries are high performing, low carbon, and energy secure economies.
We support Indian leadership in Asia . As the Secretary stated in her Chennai address last year, we view India as a pillar of economic and political stability in the Asia Pacific. Indias growing commercial ties with Bangladesh; its historic progress in fostering trade with Pakistan; strategic investments in Afghan mining; or tapping Central Asian energy resources, Indias Asia strategy of supporting open markets and open societies will reap enormous benefits for all segments of its society. And engagement in Asia means across all of Asia, including the Indian Ocean region. As my counterpart Foreign Secretary Mathai said recently, the Indian Ocean is central to Indias economy and its security -- a region of growing strategic attention.
We believe in the power of technology to create new opportunities for our citizens . I cant think of an area where there is more potential for cooperation and co-investment. Innovative technologies have the power to change in a single generation the way we travel, commute, communicate, work, and live.
People ask me whats changed most since I left the department a decade ago, and I can say it in one word -- Blackberries. Nothing is the same, and that will change ten years from now in ways none of us can even imagine.
Our private sectors must drive these efforts. Our governments must remove the barriers and impediments that constrain their progress. We have no choice in the matter. From power generation and resource management, to road development and smart growth, India can rely on the United States to be a partner in finding the technological solutions of tomorrow.
We want a defense relationship where at a moments notice our militaries could plan a joint peacekeeping operation or a humanitarian evacuation. Where our scientists and industry leaders ask not only how much or how many, but why not? The next level in our relationship will require bureaucratic changes in both out governments, but this is an area of the relationship where we cannot afford to be unambitious. To soldiers, sailors, airmen, businesspersons, scientists in both countries, what is our next great project that takes advantage of talented citizenry and contributes to our common defense?
We believe in the power of the New Silk Road, or the Grand Trunk Road, or traditional trading routes -- whatever title you want to give it . We envision a network of economic and transit connections running throughout Central and South Asia. Road and rail networks, power grids, gas pipelines - these are the physical manifestations of the New Silk Road and we hope to see them realized by 2025.
Indias role in this transformation is of course vital and in many ways you were there long before we started talking about it. It will take time before we see Turkmen gas flowing to South Asia or iron ore being mined from Hajigak, but each small step moves us closer towards realizing a grand vision for the future of the region - a future where Afghanistan will have its best chance to be stable, secure, and increasingly prosperous. This is not news to the government of India or the Indian private sector, both of which have been actively investing in Afghanistan for years. Whether in agri-business, energy, textiles, extractive industries, construction, transport, logistics -- I could go on and on. Current estimates suggest India-Afghanistan trade could double to $1 billion by 2012. Even today, India accounts for one-quarter of Afghanistans exports. Prime Minister Singh has said that he dreams of a day when one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore, and dinner in Kabul. We have begun to see the region implement the logistics of that vision.
Finally, we seek to build a wide ranging security relationship at the local, state, and federal level that can address the unconventional security threats our two countries face in the 21st century . Whether its a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative plotting a terrorist attack against our citizens, a pirate endangering freedom of navigation on the high seas, or an internet hacker seeking to exploit sensitive information through a cyber attack, governments, private industry, and civil society must be able to work together in real time to address these asymmetrical threats.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is an ambitious agenda. But Im confident that our partnership what President Obama has called one of the defining relationships of the 21st century, is up to the task. Our indispensable partnership with India -- based on equity, mutual respect, and close dialogue -- will be essential to ensuring that the 21st Century is one of open markets, free societies, and global transparent norms.
I want to close by speaking directly to the young people in this audience. Generations before you, in both of our great nations, fought hard and made great sacrifices to achieve freedom, diversity, and a respect for human dignity. The United States and India today share having fought for these core values, embody them, and our citizens live them, in practice and in spirit.
Its been said that the biggest risk to our bilateral ties is complacency. Only because we have come so far, and brought our two countries so close, might people assume that we can shift our relations into cruise control. In fact such a pause would be a grievous error. We must take a lesson from our best companies in both countries. You can be sure that GE, Boeing, or Intel along with Tata, Reliance, or Biocon arent going to sit back and rest on their laurels. We shouldnt either.
Over the course of this century your generation, whether in Boston or Bangalore, has a chance to build a society that lifts your fellow citizens out of poverty, provides economic growth unparalleled in human history, where you can be agents for positive, democratic change in some of the toughest places in the world. I challenge all of you as your parents and your grandparents did, to be driven and selfless, entrepreneurial and yes, diplomatic, in order to enact positive change in your local community, your nation, and in the global society.
Thank you very much.
Moderator: Ambassador Sherman, thank you so much.
We have a little bit of time for a few questions and answers. I would ask our co-sponsor, Mr. Tarun Das to start us off.
Question: Thank you, Michael.
Wendy, you gave a great vision of the relationship and also a very comprehensive review of what we are doing together.
I wanted to ask you about one issue which troubles me a little bit. It touches the lives of 600-700 million people in this country. It could involve all the states of our country, but many of the states of your country. It involves going back in time because you were our partner in the 60s, and this is not about aid. This is about technology and this is about productivity and this is about food and agriculture.
I think that we are going to now pass a new food law, a food security law which will create a huge pressure on our system to provide for the 1.2, 1.3 billion people. I know there is an Indo-U.S. agricultural initiative and I was involved with the Indo-U.S.-EU forum work. But its not getting that level of attention. Its not getting the priority. But this could be a big thing, a big thing that touches the federal governments of the two countries, the state governments, the companies, the universities, the people who are doing research, and connect the two into a huge movement to upgrade our agricultural technology, our agricultural production, and I think there would be an expansion of the market and the economy. Its a win/win all around. Would you like to comment on that?
Under Secretary Sherman: I think weve found the next project that Tarun Das is going to co-lead. [Laughter].
I couldnt agree with you more. Its an easy answer because those 600 million people who are dependent upon often subsistence agriculture, subsistence farming, need to know that there is food security ahead. I congratulate India for taking what is a very difficult step to try to ensure that for all of its citizens.
Everywhere I go in the world this is the crux of any country that is facing a trajectory of greater development. Many of those countries do not have the resources even that India has to tackle this. And if indeed India perhaps working in partnership with the United States and maybe others could put together such an example of how to achieve food security using both technology, new ways of transport, new ways of retain, new ways of getting food to markets, creating new export markets, new import trajectories.
India was obviously a leader in the Green Revolution and theres been a lot of discussion about whether we need a second Green Revolution when it comes to food. But I think its much more complicated than that. I dont think it is just about the next seed variety, although that certainly may be part of the answer. It is also about the movement to urbanization. Its about really the entire fabric of the society.
So Tarun, I think its a terrific project. I think it takes extraordinary leadership because it is a very complex undertaking, but I would be glad, and I know Ambassador Burleigh would, and Ambassador Powell to follow him, to talk about ways that we could work on such a project together. And the reason I volunteered you is because I think it is absolutely a public/private partnership. This is not something that government alone can do, and actually will have to be driven enormously by the private sector because they have so much at stake in it and so many of their interests are tied up in it.
We all know about the political choices that have to be made about agricultural subsidies around the world, not just here in India or in the United States, but worldwide. So this is a complex market dynamic as well as a day-to-day issue for people about whether theyre going to eat or not.
So its from the top to the bottom of the food chain, literally, so I agree with you, this is a very big and important objective here in India and around the world and I think it would be great if the U.S.-India partnership could help lead the way. So thank you for asking the question.
I should note, its not public yet, but Im sure I wont be surprised if even food security becomes a topic for many of the G discussions that take place around the world -- the G8, the G20 -- food security is a top priority worldwide. Thank you.
Question: Thank you, Ambassador, while we are continuing with the core values of democracy and the rest, is it possible to think of a paradigm change in our relationships, not only the national issues but also the global issues? Because now we are in a situation that everything has become global. Poverty as well as wealth; security and insecurity. So when we want to win over the people and do something to the people, can we transcend the limitations of borders and the nationhood, and in place of [inaudible] can we have more [inaudible]? In place of security concerns, can we have assured capability strategies? And in place of threat by power, can we replace that with [inaudible] and win over the poorest of the poor? Not only in India, but also in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in other places so that the two democracies, two great democracies of the world, can really think through the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King?
Under Secretary Sherman: Thank you. I think thats a vision we share. Exactly the values that you set out, exactly the desire to focus on the opportunities rather than the threats. To get to that place however, one has to deal with some of those threats, whether we wish to or not. And part of that is in fact to try to change the paradigm, as you suggest, to a place where people think about the positive as opposed to the negatives. But we have a ways to go before we get there, and it is why exactly as I said in my remarks, its important to use this tremendous partnership that we have with each other to try to achieve those objectives. So thank you very much.
Question: Thank you very much. Its been a very profound and enlightening presentation by you. A very important factor that would help our bilateral relationships is the capacity building. We have such a huge manpower of young people, and you made good references to them, and there has been a lot of discussion and talk about American education system coming into India, and greater opportunities for Indians to acquire the best of American education and technology, scientific.
How to forge ahead on the greater capacity building of both the populations is crucial. I feel this deserves also a greater amount of priority apart from what you have already addressed about resource sharing,about bilateral trade, about security.
So I feel that some mechanism has to be forged ahead whereby there will be a smoother progress made in this field.
Secondly, as a member of the Bahái community Im always thankful to the U.S. government for the resolutions it passes condemning the violations of the Bahái community in Iran. Recently Senator Kirk spearheaded a resolution and the Bahái of India as well as the world is always thankful to the U.S. government for recognizing this aspect of human rights.
So I feel the capacity building aspect needs to be also given greater priority because otherwise such a huge young population in this country is neglected because our own educational infrastructure with just 300 to 400 universities, the U.S. with 3,500 plus universities, there can be some better systems, towards looking to this aspect.
Under Secretary Sherman: Thank you. Several comments.
One, when Secretary Clinton became Secretary of State one of the priorities she set was to address youth around the world and to put a focus on young people. Not only their educational needs but their aspirations, and what we owe to the next generation. So we do a lot of youth training all around the world.
Here in India I think experts say by 2030 India will be the largest everything. The largest population, the largest middle class, probably sill the largest poor in the world, but also the largest cohort of young people, as well as youll probably have the largest cohort of older people. Youre just going to have the largest everything. So youre quite right to focus on young people which is why thats where I ended in my address.
When we have the Strategic Dialogue in June we are going to alongside of it continue a terrific education dialogue, and your Minister of Education, our Minister of Education, will be building on many initiatives between our countries, including Indias efforts to build its university system so that that higher education is there for your young people as they come up in the world.
So I think this capacity building is quite crucial. There are many societies around the world that 40, 50 percent of the population is under 18, and many many many more countries where more than half the population is under the age of 30. So investments in education are crucial.
Im going tomorrow to Patna, and obviously one of the things that Nitish Kumar has done is to put in place a greater focus on education and Im happy to say also girls education to make sure the kids go to school and stay in school and get literacy skills, and all of these kinds of efforts that India has started to do in just tons and tons of new ideas. Its useful here in India. We want to support that where we can. And very useful for countries all over the world.
Question: [Inaudible] Madame, on security. [Inaudible]. What do you come to know at the diplomatic level about increasing our cooperation between two countries? When you go to the people at the ground level, but Ive collected the feedback from the people, [inaudible] restaurant, [inaudible] also, because I belong to the village. [Inaudible]. What is [inaudible] security [inaudible]? I hope you are getting my hint as what I mean. [Inaudible]. The people of India [inaudible]. Why? And when you will start calling a spade a spade. Unless we do that the people [inaudible]. [Inaudible], yes, this is what has happened in America, this is what has happened in India, in Parliament,[inaudible].
When I go back to [inaudible].
Under Secretary Sherman: Thank you for your comments and for your question.
I think that the United States and India are working very well together on counterterrorism. And India and the United States are both part of the Global Counterterrorism Forum that has met already and will meet again in June; and both the United States and India I think will be present at that forum which will take place in Istanbul this time. The first meeting was at the UN General Assembly last year. And it is quite crucial that we continue to work in this regard.
We have just posted on our website as part of our rewards program a 10 million dollar reward and a 2 million dollar reward for leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba. And I think that we are very committed to this effort, as is India. And it is very crucial whether it is in India where the United States also lost 6 Americans in the attack in Mumbai or it is anywhere else in the world because there are acts of terror elsewhere always in the world. I was just in five countries in Africa which face constant threats as well. That we all use these global forums to try to deal with this asymmetric threat which is crucial for all of us. And it is something that India brings skills and capabilities to the table, we bring skills and capabilities to the table, as do other countries. And we must all join together to deal with this threat, so thank you for raising the concern.
Moderator: Thank you all very much -- Ambassador Sherman, Mr. Das, Mr. Ambassador Burleigh and all of you. We really appreciate your time and your thinking and your thoughtfulness.
I apologize, I know there are so many questions left. I would encourage you to stay in touch with us as we continue this dialogue with our visitors from Washington as well as on-line through our Facebook page as well as through our web sites and our Twitter feeds.
Again my gratitude to you, maam, and to all of you for being here. Thank you very much.