"Now is the time to strengthen further the US-India relations": Cornyn
The Obama Administration must not allow the progress made during the Bush regime to slip away, asserts Senator John Cornyn, the India Caucus Co-chair in the US Senate. In an interview with Amitabha Sen he said that now is the time for President Obama to strengthen the US-India relations further and take it forward.

Following is the text of the interview:

AS: Since signing of the Indo-US Civil Nuclear deal in 2006, one finds perceptible changes in the bilateral relationship between the two democracies. How would you like to assess today the level of mutual trust and confidence between these two countries?

JC: The relationship between the U.S. – the world’s oldest democracy – and India – the world’s largest democracy – has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, especially during the closing years of the Bush Administration.  The two nations share a clear commitment to freedom and democracy, which has formed a strong basis for our friendship.

AS: Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said the other day that Indo-US relationship is losing steam and the Obama administration should take some bold steps to strengthen this partnership? Do you agree? 

JC: Yes, now is the time for the President to focus on strengthening the U.S.-India bilateral relationship.  The progress made during the Bush Administration must not be allowed to slip away.  Our friendship with India will only increase in importance in the years ahead, and the Administration should work closely with India to address the common challenges facing our two nations.

AS: China is replacing US as the largest trade partner. Do you think the US needs to change its trade policy towards India or it is because of India opening up its market slowly that Indo-US trade is not expanding the expected way?  Or both?

JC: Trade in goods and services between the United States and India totaled more than $68 billion in 2008, creating countless economic opportunities for both our countries and providing U.S. consumers with access to affordable goods.  For this reason, I have co-sponsored legislation in the past that expressed my belief that the U.S. should pursue a free-trade agreement with India that will boost exports for both our nations.

AS: Last but not least. The EU Trade Commissioner had said that Doha would be the litmus test for India's leadership in trade negotiations. Agriculture being the mainstay, what role you would be expecting of India as leader of developing nations' block at WTO?

JC: I would hope that India will take the opportunity at Doha to advocate for the benefits of economic liberalization and lowering barriers to trade, thereby setting an example for developing nations that hope to emulate India’s success in attracting foreign investment and diversifying its economy.

November 5, 2010