Seasoned American diplomat Nancy Powell, who was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to India, has identified five priority areas to take the relationship between the two countries to a new level.
“Our look forward will encompass: Bolstering trade and investment to reduce barriers, including through negotiation of a bilateral investment treaty, and expansion of the areas where we can do business, including full implementation of the Civil-Nuclear Agreement,” Ms. Powell said in her remarks at her swearing in ceremony yesterday.
Ms. Powell, the first U.S. woman ambassador to India, was sworn in for her new assignment by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at a ceremony held at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.
“Expanding our defence cooperation across all the military services and at all levels. Enhancing our cooperation in international and multi-lateral forums. Encouraging India’s role in promoting a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Indian Ocean region and increasing cooperation on counter-terrorism and global threats,” Ms. Powell said.
She is scheduled to arrive in India later this week.
“I am deeply honoured and thrilled to be going to New Delhi,” she said, addressing a select gathering of prominent among those included Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Nirupama Rao, and Richard Armitage, the former Deputy Secretary of State.
“I had a wonderful three years in India from 1992 through 1995, as Consul General in Kolkata and Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs in New Delhi,” Powell said recollecting her previous stint in India.
“I know it will be fun to see old friends and revisit favorite places, but Team India and I will be focused on looking forward, not backward, to embrace the incredible changes that have taken place since the early 90’s - India’s dramatic economic transformation and the revolution in our bilateral relations,” Ms. Powell said.
“The number and kinds of interaction between our two countries at all levels are staggering in their breadth and depth,” she said, adding that at their heart are the people-to-people links – students, businesses, and tourists along with the three million strong Indian-American community.
“Our relations are firmly grounded in a set of common democratic values and an increasingly shared strategic vision of both the opportunities that can advance those values as well as the threats that can undermine them,” Ms. Powell said.
The forthcoming India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue scheduled to be held in Washington mid-June would be the first major event of her Ambassadorship.
A day earlier, the U.S. Embassy in India released her video message to the people of India, dubbed in 10 languages.
“I am impressed by how much deeper and broader Indian-American relations have become and how much greater role India now plays in addressing the world’s challenges,” she said in her video, which was subtitled in several Indian languages including Bangla, Kannada and Urdu.