WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), who published a “First 100 Days” plan to strengthen U.S. and India relations, today praised the progress made in the U.S.-India relationship at the 100-day mark of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Administration.
“I am pleased to see U.S. and Indian leadership work together to make progress on concrete deliverables during these first 100 days,” said Senator Warner, co-chair of the bipartisan Senate India Caucus. “By demonstrating that we can move beyond talk and actually get things done, we can provide new energy and important momentum to set the stage for Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the U.S. later this month.”
In May, Senator Warner laid out the “First 100 days” plan prior to the beginning of Prime Minister Modi’s new Administration. It included recommendations for both the U.S. and Indian governments. Senator Warner is pleased that both governments have made progress on seven of his recommended priorities to continue to improve and energize the bilateral relationship.
In the first 100 days, the countries have made progress on several of his recommendations:
1. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that Frank Kendall, Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics would lead the U.S. side of the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative.
2. Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveiled a budget that raises Foreign Direct Investment from 26% to 49% in the several sectors including defense and insurance sectors.
3. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker traveled to Delhi for the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue. Senator Warner had called for this meeting to be held early in Prime Minister Modi’s first term and to hold it in Delhi so that it would be “less disruptive to organizing meetings and [would] provide both sides the opportunity to meet and get to work early in the term on joint initiatives.”
4. Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the issue of high-skill visas, and acknowledged the need to reform U.S. immigration policies to make it easier for people to travel and address some of India’s concerns with regard to visa policies.
5. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency announced an energy project with Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Limited (GETCO), to integrate increasing amounts of wind and solar into its power transmission system. The project, to be carried out with Quanta Technology of Raleigh, N.C., will ensure load balance and frequency regulation. India has also dropped plans to impose an anti-dumping duty of between 11 to 81 cents per watt on solar panel imports from the U.S., China, Taiwan and Malaysia.
6. The Indian budget, unveiled July 10, focused heavily on infrastructure, making specific mention of building smart cities and emphasizing expansion and improvement of roads, railways, ports, and energy infrastructure. During the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, Secretary Kerry and India Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj committed to identifying specific areas for investment in India’s manufacturing and infrastructure sectors through establishing a new initiative.
7. Dr. Amy Searight, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, announced that the Defense Policy Group will convene this year ahead of the 2015 renewal of the Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship and other U.S.-India defense activities.