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India, US have to resist forces of intolerance: Joe Biden

India, US have to resist forces of intolerance: Joe Biden
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India and the US have to resist the forces of intolerance and remain vigilant in their efforts to make the democracies stronger and more inclusive, Vice-President Joe Biden has said.

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India and the US have to resist the forces of intolerance and remain vigilant in their efforts to make the democracies stronger and more inclusive, Vice-President Joe Biden has said.


Speaking at the 40th Annual Gala of the US India Business Council (USIBC) last evening, he also said, American can be India's "best friend", and that the challenges of the current world bring the two countries closer than ever before.

"Both our nations have to resist the forces of intolerance and remain vigilant in our efforts to make our democracies stronger and more inclusive. It's not just the morally right thing to do, it's the economic necessary thing to do," the Vice-President said.

Biden's address, his second major speech on India in the last 100 days, also kicked off the inaugural India US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.

"We are in a new era of India US relationship," he said. "We're both major players on the world stage. And it's up to us -- India and the United States -- to lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. As I said, it's not just the morally right thing to do, it's in the long-term economic interests of India and quite frankly the whole world. And it works," Biden said.

The Vice-President also said, "We need to stand together on counter terrorism and counter violent extremism," adding, the most important issue of the era is the challenges posed by climate change.

Addressing top corporate leaders from the two countries, Biden said, ultimately commercial success depends on the development of human capital.

It's India's greatest resource, adding, the US has benefitted from that Indian greatest resource here. "We've experienced it first-hand -- 3 million Indian-Americans whose talent have shaped the fabric of this country in our schools, our hospitals, our research labs, in our courtrooms, in our government, in the arts and entertainment, and from Silicon Valley to Main Street," he said.

It is reflected also in the uniform so many Indian-Americans wear for the US military, he added.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Silicon Valley next week, Biden said, the visiting leader will see during his visit that "entrepreneurship is hard-wired in the DNA of both Americans and Indians."

Observing that there is so much potential in trade and investment between the two countries, there is no reason that it cannot increase five times.

Entrepreneurs of Indian-origin founded 15 per cent of the Silicon Valley startups. Half a dozen of the Fortune 500 companies are led by Indian-Americans, Biden said.

About 100,000 Indian students study at American universities, and we aim to double that by the year 2020 and triple that number of American students studying in India, he said.

During his visit to India a few years ago, Biden had called for increasing the bilateral trade from the current USD 100 billion per annum to USD 500 billion per annum -- a goal which now has been set up by the two countries.

In his visit, however, Biden had cited reforms needed in the era of intellectual property. There is enormous potential, he had said, seeking easing of hindrances in foreign investment. He also called for inclusive growth that takes care of all sections of the society including women.

"As we see in America, reaching our full potential requires empowering everyone. And we haven't always been quick to do that. Empowering immigrants, empowering everyone regardless of their ethnic or religious minority status. And, those in the LGBT community, and especially women," he said.

"Both of us, the United States and India -- in my view, the whole world has to continue to unlock the potential of more than half the population in the world," he said.

India he said is full of possibilities, Biden said in his keynote address, which was attended among others by Secretary of State John Kerry, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Energy Minister Piyush Goyal.
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