Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the US is a ‘major milestone’ for the bilateral ties, the chairman of a leading India-US advocacy group has said, underling that New Delhi and Washington will be the ‘model” for how two strategic partners can work together across sectors.
Prime Minister Modi is visiting the US from June 21-24 at the invitation of US President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
‘I think it’s a major milestone for the future. I’ve always been the biggest bull on India and the future of India and what economically can be accomplished by India’s leadership on the global stage,’ US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) Chairman John Chambers told PTI in an exclusive interview.
Chambers, the Chairman Emeritus at Cisco and founder of JC2 Ventures, underlined the potential of the US and India to be the “most strategic partnership’ in the world.
This partnership will positively impact not only businesses between the two countries but jobs as well in each of the 28 states and union territories of India and 50 states in the US, he said.
Modi will be welcomed as a State Guest in Washington DC on June 22 and will address a joint session of the US Congress the same day, the first Indian prime minister to be accorded this honour twice.
He first addressed the joint meeting of the US Congress in June 2016. The US President and the First Lady will host Prime Minister Modi at a State dinner on June 22.
Chambers said ‘when you have the two biggest democracies who share a common vision of what technology can do for the future of our countries, for the future of standard of living, job creation and defence, it’s rare that that comes together at a point in time which is what we have now.’ Chambers added that there will be challenges in the relationship as well.
‘Nothing this complex, with this type of results, comes without challenges,” he said.
“But if I were betting on one country in Asia, it’s India. If I were betting on two, I’d bet on India twice. I think we will also be the model for how two strategic partners, not allies, partners, can work together on everything from economics to job creation to technology exchange to defence etc. So it’s a magical moment,’ he said.
Chambers said that in Modi, he has seen a ‘leader that is like almost no other that I’ve seen in 40 years.’ Chambers described Modi as a ‘charismatic leader who is able to outline a vision and to get people both excited about it but he has the ability to execute on it. That is rare in today’s world.’ He emphasised that the Indian leader gets along with both Democrats and Republican leaders in the US.
‘I think he is a uniting force in this world. And I think the most important partnership that will exist for the next two-three decades will be what the US and India can do across” a spectrum of areas.
‘What you really see is our two countries’are joined at the hip at every level,’ Chambers said.
He noted the several interactions and exchanges between top leaders from both countries ahead of the state visit including between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai well as National Security Advisors from the two countries Ajit Doval and Jake Sullivan.
‘So what you see is a very broad building of relationships in many areas and each of them in and of themselves being important, but when you put them together into an architecture that it becomes game-changing. And so I think it’s important to realise this is a long-term play,’ he said.
Chambers described digitalisation in India as a ‘powerful’ vision. ‘What you see now is no longer an India that is a slow follower. You see an India that is an innovator, a mover and shaker that can really drive through it.’ Chambers also noted the cooperation between India and the US in multilateral fora such as the Quad that includes Australia and Japan and I2U2 – India, Israel, UAE and the US.
‘Now, where we’re going is a chance to redefine what is possible. So my view on this visit is you take it one more step,’ he said adding that “this is an ongoing process.’ Chambers said he ‘can’t wait to watch’ Modi’s address to the US Congress and said expectations are obviously high from the visit.
He added that going by how the foundation has been built, ‘I think it’s going to be a tremendous visit and tremendous results, not necessarily in the next week, but tremendous results over the next years. That really is what it’s all about.’