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American Today


Indian Ambassador to U.S. Speaks at School of International Service

By Mike Unger

Photo: Meera Shankar, India's ambassador to the U.S., spoke at SIS on Oct. 6.

Meera Shankar, India's ambassador to the U.S., speaks at SIS on Oct. 6, while Dean Lou Goodman looks on. (Photo: Jeff Watts)

India’s ambassador to the United States, Meera Shankar, visited the School of International Service Oct. 6 and in a speech shared her thoughts on partnerships between the two countries.

“I always welcome an opportunity to visit a university because universities are the [place] where new ideas take shape and future leaders are born,” she said. “With its global outlook and perspective, AU is well equipped to respond to our globalized world.”

Shankar, India’s former ambassador to Germany, believes the world’s two largest democracies are uniquely positioned to confront the problems facing humanity in the twenty-first century.

“We have both used the power of peaceful means to transform our societies,” she said. “Indians and Americans have learned to respect diversity and enable pluralism. The India-U.S. partnership can . . . be a bridge across our interconnected yet diverse world.”

Seventy percent of India’s population is less than 35 years old, which means one in every 10 people on earth is a young Indian. That’s an eye-opening statistic.

“In so many ways, the destiny we have will make a significant impact on the [entire] world,” she said.

“The progress of one-sixth of humanity represents a huge economic opportunity,” she said. “India-U.S. trade has doubled just in the last five years. U.S. exports to India have grown three times in that time. India will continue to look to the United States as a major development partner.”

India’s economy has weathered the global economic crisis relatively well, Shankar said. Growth has fallen from 9 percent to 6.7, but even that is a “relatively robust” performance, she said.

The countries also share an interest in combating terrorism, Shankar said. Militants in Pakistan pose a threat to both India and the United States.

“The threats we face are multiple,” she said. “No one can address them alone. We have to work together closely.”