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Asia Society Task Force Provides New Model for Deeper Private and NGO Sector Involvement In Strategic US-India Partnerships

Jan 16, 2009
Description : 

New York, January 16, 2009—A new Asia Society task force outlines abold new strategy for the incoming US administration to pursue deepercollaboration with India on global challenges ranging from security andeconomic growth to climate change, education, agriculture needs andHIV/AIDS. As the recent attacks in Mumbai made clear, there is anurgent need for increased partnership between the world’s two largestdemocracies. Delivering on the Promise: Advancing US Relations with Indiaoutlines innovative proposals to utilize both countries’ strategicstrengths, particularly leveraging private sector engagement to tacklecomplex global issues.

Over the last decade, ties between the US and Indian private sectorshave grown rapidly, powering the relationship with new momentum. Morerecently, shared values and a convergence of national interests haveled to new US-Indian collaboration at governmental levels. "Last year’scivilian nuclear agreement demonstrates our countries’ willingness toexplore inventive avenues to address global challenges. This Task Forcewants to harness the energy of our two countries’ private sectors inpublic-private partnerships focused on the big problems governmentscannot solve alone," says former Ambassador to India Frank G. Wisner. Wisner and Charles R. Kaye, former chairman of the US-India Business Council, are co-chairs of the Task Force. See below for the full list of members and affiliations.

The Task Force report outlines bold but practical recommendationsacross two parallel tracks. Track 1 focuses on strengtheninggovernmental relations, primarily through securing India’s leadershipin multilateral institutions, expanding cooperation on economic growthand security initiatives, and fostering dialogue on the future ofnonproliferation. Track 2 proposes joint public-private partnershipsapplied to the following global challenges:

Climate change
"The scientific R&D capabilities of India and America, along without venture capitalists, will lead on innovation. We and India have aninterest in a vibrant and reciprocal partnership that addresses energyinnovation."

Secondary and higher education
"India must find a way to properly educate and skill its youngpopulation, lest its demographics—550 million under age 25—become adeficiency." This is a challenge uniquely suited for linkages with USinstitutions, which could also lead to benefits for the US inmathematics and science.

Agriculture in India
A "Second Green Revolution in India [would] have global impact byprofoundly transforming the lives of a quarter of the world’s poor."The US should encourage investment in India’s 'tractor to tiffin'infrastructure to help build markets and the necessary links betweenproducers and consumers, pulling subsistence farmers into a world ofscale, efficiency, and productive livelihood.

HIV/AIDS
"The US and Indian governments are both engaged with the issue but viaseparate mechanisms.... An annual action summit could bring togetherand catalyze cutting edge thinking from the US and India to continuallyassess and hone intervention opportunities."

"We are at a critical moment of positive upswing that the newadministration must work concertedly to maintain. This Task Forcebelieves that India matters to virtually every major foreign policychallenge facing the United States in the years ahead. Our work is justbeginning," says Kaye.

Full version of the report and executive summary are available at http://www.asiasociety.org/indiataskforce.


Task Force Members

Dr. Alyssa Ayres, Task Force Director
Director, McLarty Associates

Mr. Scott R. Bayman
Former President and CEO, GE India; Senior Director, Stonebridge International and Chairman, Stonebridge India

Dr. Marshall M. Bouton
President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Dr. Stephen P. Cohen
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Dr. Vishakha N. Desai
President, Asia Society

Dr. Amy Gutmann
President, University of Pennsylvania

Mr. Victor J. Menezes
Senior Advisor, New Silk Route Partners, LLC

Dr. Jamie F. Metzl
Executive Vice President, Asia Society

Dr. George Rupp
CEO and President, International Rescue Committee; Former President, Columbia University

Ambassador Teresita Schaffer
Director, South Asia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Dr. Ashley J. Tellis
Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

With support from McLarty Associates, The India Country Fund of the Asia Society, Sreedhar Menon, and Victor J. Menezes.

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The Asia Society is an international organization dedicated tostrengthening relationships and deepening understanding among thepeoples of Asia and the United States. We seek to increase knowledgeand enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate newideas across the fields of policy, business, education, arts, andculture.

Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, the Society reachesaudiences around the world through its headquarters in New York andregional centers in Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington,DC, Hong Kong, Seoul, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, and Shanghai.The AsiaSociety is supported by contributions from foundations, corporations,and individuals. Asia Society is on the Web at www.asiasociety.org.

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Contact: Deanna Lee, 212-327-9271