‘Better trade ties within South Asia will help 23 per cent of the world’s population get their fair share of GDP’

Economic cooperation has been a decisive factor behind India’s achievement of greater influence and responsibility in the international system, Jennifer McIntyre, United States Consul General, Chennai, said in Tiruchi on Thursday.

The New Silk Road concept mooted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as an international infrastructure network in the South Asian region that would remove barriers to flow of goods and people between countries of South Asia will further produce a prosperous India as an anchor country for economic integration and prosperous South Asia, Ms.McIntyre said, addressing students of the Indian Institute of Management-Tiruchi. Better trade ties within South Asia will help 23 per cent of the world’s population to get their fair share of the world’s Gross Domestic Product, she said.

The United States and India believe that better economic integration can play a crucial role in furthering South Asia’s long-term stability, she said, and appreciated India’s acceleration of trade and economic ties with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Pakistan. New projects and initiatives, particularly in energy and transportation, will have multiplier effects on the regional economy, and increasing GDP and employment.

Referring to the potential in the US-India economic relationship to improve lives of hundreds of millions of people throughout the 21 century, Ms.McIntyre said that at the bilateral level the fuller scope to facilitate trade partnership for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship will be explored further in tune with the size of the respective economies.

Foreign Direct Investment, in India’s case, can help modernise its infrastructure and help both countries. The Bilateral Investment Treaty, she believed, will provide added confidence to investors, deepen economic relationship, and support job creation in both countries.

On educational partnership, Ms.McIntyre said the United States was looking forward to promoting linkages between its business schools with institutions such as Indian Institutes of Managements.

She advised students aspiring to pursue higher education in the United States to contact the USIEF (U.S. India-Education Foundation) office in the Chennai Consulate.

“Another new area of collaboration is the Obama-Singh 21 Century Knowledge Initiative, a ten-million dollar programme co-funded equally by the Governments of India and the United States for our educational institutions to work on innovative projects together,” Ms.McIntyre said.