Carnegie India, in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in India, hosted U.S. Ambassador to India Kenneth I. Juster for his inaugural policy speech.

Ambassador Juster’s remarks focused on how he envisions building a more durable India-U.S. relationship over the coming years. They covered a range of bilateral issues, including defense cooperation, economic and trade ties, energy, and health care. Ambassador Juster’s remarks can be read here.

C. Raja Mohan, director of Carnegie India, chaired this discussion.

 

Discussion Highlights

  • Defense Ties: Ambassador Juster discussed three areas of cooperation where the United States and India could enhance the long-term security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region: military exercises, defense trade, and military exchanges. He also stressed the need for greater joint counterterrorism efforts between the two countries, including information sharing and dismantling terrorist camps and operations. 
  • Economic Relations: Noting the growth in U.S.-India bilateral trade relations over the last fifteen years, Ambassador Juster highlighted the potential for India to become an alternative market to China for U.S. business in the Indo-Pacific. India should accelerate its economic reform process, expand market access, and enhance intellectual property protections, Ambassador Juster stated. Acknowledging that resolving trade and investment disputes is important, he laid out the United States’ strategic aspiration of this bilateral, economic relationship: a U.S.-India Free Trade Agreement. 
  • Energy and Environment: Ambassador Juster argued that the United States is uniquely positioned to offer India a comprehensive energy partnership, including all forms of energy, infrastructure, and technology necessary for India’s efforts to enhance energy security. In terms of environmental collaboration, Ambassador Juster reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to helping Prime Minister Modi create a blue economy.
  • Science, Technology, and Health: Ambassador Juster highlighted the U.S. interest in partnering with India to encourage sustainable and inclusive development. In particular, he said, this involves supporting a range of innovative projects, including those to advance health care, improve the environment, modernize agriculture, and manage diseases.
  • Regional Cooperation: Ambassador Juster outlined four areas where working with India was necessary to build regional cooperation and promote stability and welfare. First, he noted the importance of joint efforts by the two countries to create peace, security, and prosperity within Afghanistan. He reaffirmed President Trump’s speech last year, which called for India to continue to do more in the post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan. Ambassador Juster also argued for nurturing multilateral groupings with like-minded countries in the Indo-Pacific through naval exercises. Further, he advocated for the United States to coordinate with India and the multilateral development banks on financing regional infrastructure projects. Finally, Ambassador Juster underscored the potential of bilateral cooperation to improve humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the Indo-Pacific region.

This event summary was prepared by Neil Noronha, a Luce Scholar at Carnegie India.