U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stressed the importance of innovation in the U.S.-India trade relationship today in Bangalore with remarks and a discussion with students and faculty at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) before officially opening the U.S. Pavilion at Aero India 2011. Bangalore is the second stop of his three-city high-technology business development trade mission with U.S companies to India.
During the discussion at IISc, Locke interacted with students, research scholars, and professors at one of India's premier educational institutions for science and research. Locke discussed how India's efforts to build a more open commercial environment will help empower the next generation of Indian innovators to help solve some of the world's most pressing problems like climate change, poverty and disease.
"I'm optimistic and confident the world is equipped to deal with the challenges we face – and a big part of the reason is seeing young people like you," said Locke. Because although these problems are daunting, they do have solutions. Many of them can be solved with the science, math and engineering skills that are taught and learned at IISC every day."
The secretary added that unlocking the full potential of IISc students and researchers, and indeed the entire U.S.-India trade relationship, depended on India continuing to work towards "a regulatory infrastructure that encourages the freer flow of ideas, people, and technologies across its borders."
Locke highlighted the importance of the aerospace sector to the U.S.-India trade relationship at Aero India 2011, India’s largest aerospace trade event. Locke joined U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer for the inauguration and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the U.S. pavilion at the show. U.S. participation in Aero India is the largest to date with over 40 U.S. companies.
Locke said that the U.S.-India partnership is "as strong as it's ever been." He added that, "high-technology defense sales are a cornerstone of our bond. This relationship has an incredible future ahead of it, and this pavilion is a testament to that fact."
While at Aero India, Locke met with Ratan N. Tata, Chairman of Tata Group. Locke and Tata recently participated in the US CEO forum together during President Obama’s visit in November.
In the afternoon, Secretary Locke and nearly a dozen U.S. aerospace and high-technology companies met with Minister of Defence A.K. Antony and Indian government officials to strengthen the U.S. India strategic partnership and advocate on behalf of U.S. products and services. The U.S. businesses included ABSi Corporation, Aero Controls, Boeing, Fluidic Energy, FLIR Systems, Lockheed Martin, North Star Aerospace, Oshkosh Corporation, Pelican Products, Rajant Corporation, and Rapiscan Systems.
"The U.S. is committed to greater bilateral commercial collaboration and developing a strategic partnership with India that strengthens our global nonproliferation efforts, and creates trade opportunities in the defense and high-technology sectors," Secretary Locke said.
Locke emphasized that the U.S. is committed to providing India with the most sophisticated technology and equipment.
In January, the Department published a regulation that removes the remaining Indian space and defense-relation entities from the “Entity List” and realigns India in the U.S. export control regulations to reflect its status as a Strategic Partner.
Building on the success of President Obama’s trip in November, Locke is leading a delegation of 24 U.S. companies to pursue commercial opportunities that will create opportunities for both countries. More than half of the companies are small and medium sized businesses.
The pace of trade between the United States and India is accelerating. Between 2002 and 2009, U.S. goods exports to India quadrupled, growing from $4.1 billion to more than $16.4 billion. Through the first eleven months of 2010, U.S. merchandise exports to India totaled $17.6 billion, up 17 percent from the same period in 2009. With economic growth estimates at about 9.7 percent in 2010, India is a key market for the Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports in five years in support of several million U.S. jobs.
Visit the Commerce Department’s India trade mission website at http://trade.gov/indiamission2011/index.asp for updates on the trade mission.