US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s visit to India – Another milestone to strengthen ties between the two nations

Indo US Defence Ministers PCThe logistics support agreement which has been under negotiations for over 10 years was finally brought to a conclusion on Tuesday, where the two countries agreed “in principle” to a logistics exchange agreement to enable both militaries to use each other’s assets and bases for repair and replenishment of supplies. However, Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar and Ashton Carter made it clear that the agreement does not entail deployment of American troops on Indian soil and will be signed in a few weeks or months to come.

To take bilateral ties to a level never seen before, both sides agreed to set up a new Maritime Security Dialogue between officials from the respective defense and foreign affairs ministries. A “White Shipping” agreement is also proposed in the near future. This strategic partnership between India and the United States is defining the 21st century; we’ve already witnessed the remarkable changes in the relationship between the two nations. The countries also share a joint vision for peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region with the Joint Strategic Vision released by President Obama and Narendra Modi in January.

Here are some key points that were discussed during Carter’s visit:

India is the world’s biggest arms importer and wants access to US technology, so it can be a key part of the PM’s Make in India initiative to boost domestic manufacturing.

The US is also hoping to sell F-16 or F-18 fighter jets to India that involve a major co-production deal with more than 100 fighter planes to be manufactured in India in collaboration with an Indian partner company.

Carter told NDTV that the recent sale of F16s to Pakistan was based on the assumption that these jets will be used to fight terrorism and does acknowledge India’s objection to this decision.

The main negotiations revolved around the transfer of technology for GenX aircraft carriers to be manufactured in India, including jet engines and helmet mounted displays for fighter pilots.

The US is also keen to work with India to counter China’s dominance in the South China Sea; however there have been no discussions about a joint Indo-US fleet for this matter, but the two countries will work closely together.

Modi-Obama – Strengthening the Strategic Bilateral Alliance of U.S and India

Nuclear Security SummitPrime Minister Narendra Modi’s third trip to the US for the Nuclear Security Summit has once again set ambitious goals for the two nations to deepen their bilateral ties. At the NSS dinner, Modi sat on the left side of President Obama in the East Room of the White House, and the duo exchanged some dialogues.

Modi began his speech at the Summit dinner by applauding President Obama’s sincere effort to address the issues of global security and nuclear terrorism. He said that terrorism is globally networked and nuclear security must remain an abiding national priority for every country. He also added that one country’s terrorist does not mean there’s no danger to another country; it is a collaborative effort of all nations to fight terrorism.

A glimpse into Modi’s itinerary includes a series of bilateral meetings with several leaders on the sideline including, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as well as President Obama, however, only one meeting has been officially announced, with Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key.

In the year 2015, USINPAC partnered with News X to host two Television Round Table Conferences in San Francisco. The main topics of discussion were Modi’s vision “Make in India” and “Is India ready to go digital?” The ‘Make in India’ roundtable discussions were directly linked to creating tomorrow’s smart cities in India, developing best practices around innovation and entrepreneurship, enhancing Indo-US trade relations and deepening the Indian sectors’ integration into the global supply chain. The second round table conference aimed to address the issues on creating a powerful digital infrastructure in India, making all businesses go ‘online’ and enhancing overall digital literacy in the country.

In addition to the above events, USINPAC also hosted a Congressional Briefing on US-India Nuclear Trade in June last year. Several leaders of the Indian American community supported USINPAC to facilitate the congressional approval of the US-India 123 Agreement in 2008, which set the stage for the two nations to join forces together for civilian nuclear energy trade; the event took place at Capitol Hill, which witnessed immense support for the historic passage of the 2006 Hyde Act.

The final series of NSS will adopt a five-point action plan as an objective to the outcomes of the NSS initiative, which will involve International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), UN, Interpol, Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) and G-8 to reinforce global nuclear security against nuclear terrorism. India is an active member of three of four forums but is only a participating member of G-8, sometimes called G8+5. The “+5” refers to countries like Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

Indian-American Nandita Bakhshi appointed as the President and CEO at Bank of the West!

Nandita BakhshiIt is a matter of immense pride and joy among the Indian-American population when Nandita Bakhshi was appointed as the President and CEO of Bank of the West – a subsidiary of the French multinational bank, BNP Paribas, which is one of the largest banks in the world.

Bakhshi, 57 will replace her predecessor, Michael Shepherd, who will now take on the role of Chairman of a new holding company encompassing all U.S based BNP Paribas subsidiaries. She is said to officially take the reins as CEO and President on the 1st of June 2016, after a month of training, scheduled to start on April 1. Nandita Bakhshi’s rich experience and leadership roles in top US banks like Washington Mutual (now JP Morgan Chase), TD Bank, Bank of America, First Data Corp, Home Savings of America and Banc One Corp has won her this spectacular achievement. She currently serves on the board of the Consumers Bankers Association and is the recipient of a New England News “Woman of the Year” award in 2002.

Head of International Retail Banking, BNP Paribas, Mr. Stefaan Decraene said “We are extremely pleased to welcome Nandita Bakhshi to Bank of the West. Her extensive experience in product and distribution, coupled with her visionary thinking, relentless customer focus and values-driven philosophy will serve us well in taking Bank of the West to greater heights.” BNP Paribas is set out to revamp its US operational strategy to meet new regulations. Michael Shepherd is all praises for the new President and CEO, “I am very pleased that Nandita Bakhshi is joining Bank of the West. Her energy, innovative ideas and proven record of accomplishments are a great combination with our strong franchise and corporate culture,” he added.

Nandita Bakhshi graduated with a Bachelor’s in History from University of Kolkatta and holds a master’s degree in International Relations and Affairs from Jadavpur University, India. Her most recent leadership role was VP and Head of North America where she was responsible for driving innovation and improvising the digital channels to provide customers with a unified and seamless banking experience. On that note, USINPAC congratulates Nandita Bakhshi on her new endeavor and journey as CEO and President at Bank of the West. Cheers to that!

Richard Verma: Taking US-India Relations to a New Level

Verma Rich DC 300 DPI

During his stint as Senior National Security Adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Richard Verma was called the “Most Influential Indian American Congressional Aide.” After being appointed as the new US envoy to India, he is now referred to as the “Most influential Indian American in India.”  Verma took the lead after Nancy Powell resigned in March, 2014. The extraordinary connection between President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set an ambitious vision for the two economies to accomplish global economic growth and other remarkable developments. In the last decade, the two countries have made dynamic progress in every category to strengthen bilateral relations.

“The future between the two nations is looking brighter than ever with a number of collaborations that are in the process including the second mission to Mars with Nasa to provide navigational support,” Verma stated recently. He also announced that US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will come to India in April, this being his third visit in less than a year, which marks the dawn of a new era in the Indo-US security relationship, moving to greater heights of partnership in the “not-so-distant” future. The implementation of the Joint Strategic Vision for Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions will strengthen the ties between the provinces; explore multilateral opportunities for engagement that will bolster long term peace, prosperity and stability for all.

When questioned about the recent decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan which caused unrest and drew protests in India, he said, “There should be zero tolerance for terrorism and Pakistan should do more to fight terror and safe havens, however, India-US defense ties are qualitatively and quantitatively different from any other country in South Asia. India-US ties are independent of Pakistan”. Moving on to bilateral trade which has grown substantially in 2015, he remarked that there are 500 US companies in India and is hoping that bilateral trade will reach $500 billion a year and that America is waiting to start negotiations on Bilateral Investment Treaty. “Fundamentally, our two countries are stronger when we come together and the global impact we can have on peace and prosperity,” said the US Ambassador.

USINPAC congratulates Indian-American Raja Krishnamoorthi for winning the Chicago Democratic nomination

Raja KrishnamoorthiRenowned businessman and legislative genius Raja Krishnamoothi was a front-runner for the 8th Congressional District race, who registered a glorious win in the Democratic Congressional primary in the State of Illinois, defeating the state Senator.

Krishnamoorthi’s victory is an inspiration to all Indian Americans and this historic opportunity represents a chance of a lifetime for the current and future generations. It is a matter of immense pride and the dawn of new shinning hope among all Indian Americans, for another individual of Indian blood to be elected to the US House of Representatives in the November general elections. Krishnamoorthi polled 57 percent of votes defeating his arch rivals – State Senator Mike Noland, who bagged 29 percent and Deb Bullwinkel at 13 percent.

Raja Krishnamoorthi hails from New Delhi, India and graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Princeton University, New Jersey, followed by a degree with honors in Law from Harvard in the year 2000. He served as a policy director and advisor for Barrack Obama’s US Senate campaign in 2004 as well as the Presidential campaign in 2008. He is currently the President of Sivananthan Labs and Episolar Inc that manufacture and sell products in the national security and renewable energy industries. He is also the co-founder of Inspire, a nonprofit organization and has served as the Vice Chairman of Illinois Innovation Council.

USINPAC was honored to host a radio interview with Raja Krishnamoorthi where he spoke about his vision and ideas about the new economy- including strengthening the quality of life of working families, making college affordable, bolstering small businesses, reforming immigration system and improving America’s infrastructure. More importantly, he stressed on pursuing and bringing about changes in economic equality, social security, healthcare and advocating policies to increase minimum wages.

Source:  The New Indian Express