Asst. Secretary Blake affirms commitment to Indo-US Partnership

-Sabith Khan, MPA/IR Student

The South Asia Center was honored to host Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake on Tuesday, January 25th. Speaking at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, he affirmed the Obama Administration’s commitment to the US-Strategic partnership, which was strengthened by the President’s recent three day visit to India last November. He began his talk by pointing out the enduring ties that the Maxwell School has with India, starting with Dean Appleby making a visit to India and preparing the “Survey of India” in the 1950s’, which led to the establishment of the Indian Institute of Public Administration. Furthermore, the Moynihan Institute is named for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served as Ambassador to India.

Assistant Secretary Blake went onto outline why this partnership is so important. He stated, “India shares our commitment to pluralism, religious liberty, universal education and the promotion of innovation and free enterprise. Indeed, our mutual commitment to these freedoms animates our global strategic partnership and provides us with the energy and the courage to build a better world together. President Obama’s trip produced a number of significant new milestones that show how the United States and India are working together to advance global peace, security and development and illustrates why he believes our relations with India constitute an ‘indispensable partnership’ for the 21st century.”SAC Director Cecilia Van Hollen presents Assistant Secretary Blake with a copy of Steven R. Weisman's new book containing the letters of Daniel Patrick Moynihan

The Assistant Secretary also pointed out that India is the rising economic star of the region, with its GDP being 10 times what it was in 1990, when it liberalized its economy. “And, I assure all of you here tonight,” Blake asserted, “that U.S is making it a priority to work with our private sector to give them the opportunities to help meet India’s growing needs. Over the last decade, India became our 14th largest goods trading partner and we exchanged $ 37.6 billion in goods in 2009. US foreign direct investment in India reached $ 16.1 billion in 2008, a 10.8% increase from 2007.” He also fielded questions from the audience about security issues in the region, the relationship between Pakistan and India, and the current situation in Sri Lanka.

Earlier in the day, Assistant Secretary Blake spent time with undergraduate and graduate students over lunch to discuss his experiences as a Foreign Service officer and possible career opportunities available to students. He also answered questions that the students had concerning U.S. policy in South Asia. Students who attended the lunch and the lecture appreciated Blake’s insights and commented on how approachable he had been during his visit.

For people interested in viewing Assistant Secretary Blake’s talk or listening to Professor Grant Reeher’s radio interview with him, please see our website, http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/ moynihan/Programs/sac/.