(As Prepared for Delivery)
Good morning. Thank you, Vikram, for your kind introduction and your hospitality. Under your leadership, Brookings India has become one of the premier centers in the world for exploring and understanding the dynamic U.S.-India strategic partnership.
We are very proud of our work together to strengthen the political, security, economic, and people-to-people ties that bind our two great democracies.
I’m also grateful to our distinguished guests for taking the time to join us today. I very much wanted the opportunity during this visit to hear your thoughts and insights into how our two nations can address some of this century’s greatest challenges.
For decades, the United States and India have worked side-by-side to advance human progress through agricultural, scientific, and technological discoveries that have transformed the world.
Last year, when President Obama was given the great honor of being the first American President to join you for Republic Day, he reflected on India’s impressive rise and the unbounded possibilities of our growing collaboration on the world stage.
“I’m absolutely convinced,” President Obama said, “that both our peoples will have more jobs and opportunity, and our nations will be more secure, and the world will be safer and a more just place when our two democracies—the world’s largest democracy and the world’s oldest democracy—stand together.”
The intensity and depth of our relationship—which stretches from the orbit of Mars to the floor of the Indian Ocean—is testament to the value we place on our partnership and the confidence we have in its even greater potential.
India has a uniquely important role to play in the international arena today.
Over the past 25 years, India has moved towards integration into the global economy while lifting millions out of poverty, sharing its expertise with other developing countries, and reinforcing its strategic standing in the world.
This transformation has been supported and accelerated by an international order dedicated to the peace, stability, and prosperity of every nation.
Born out of the rubble of war, this global system provides still today the best and sometimes only means of preventing conflict, energizing progress, and allowing countries to resolve their differences diplomatically and peacefully.These global norms have given us environmental protections, trade regulations, anticorruption laws, child labor laws, maritime security, human rights safeguards, international financial institutions, public health organizations, and a peacekeeping force dedicated to the protection of civilians.
It is not perfect. Over the last decade, this system has struggled to keep pace as major new economies have emerged, technologies have advanced, citizens have questioned the status quo, and spoilers have flexed their muscles.
Today, it faces challenges that its founders could scarcely have imagined—from rising seas to cyber-attacks to nihilist terrorists.
It has had to cope with a strategic environment more fluid and fraught with complexity than ever before, as power shifts among, below, and beyond nation-states.
This shift is urged on by the rapid pace of technological change, the growth of economic interdependence, the scale of global connectivity.
It requires governments to be more accountable to sub-state and non-state actors from the mayors of mega cities to corporate giants to super-empowered groups and individuals.
It has linked all of us in unprecedented ways, incentivizing new forms of cooperation but also creating shared vulnerabilities.
Our challenge today is to adapt the global order to suit this new century while also ensuring that the fundamentals of its construction—the rules, the norms, the principles we depend on for our security and prosperity—meet the highest standards.
This means strengthening our alliances, working with like-minded emerging powers, and imposing costs on those who seek to assert their will by force.
It means identifying new leaders, new voices, and new representatives that can demonstrate the benefits of this order for a wider range of countries and new generation of voters.
Few nations have as much to contribute in upholding our global order as India—as a thriving, multicultural democracy that is deeply vested in upholding a rules-based order, as a military power focused on advancing peace and stability, and as an economic powerhouse that relies on inclusive, sustainable growth.
Our cooperation in Afghanistan and Africa underscores our shared commitment to building democratic institutions around the world.
And India’s leading contributions to UN peacekeeping and its participation in military exercises with fellow democracies like Japan and the United States demonstrate its abiding interest in preserving stability and preventing conflict.
As we work together to defend our common principles and update our global institutions, we look to India’s ingenuity, energy, and leadership in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. Together, we will fulfill our responsibility to this and future generations to look over the horizon—alert vulnerabilities but also awake to the opportunities.
With that, I’m eager to hear from all of you.
Thank you very much.