With heavy rains lashing the national capital today morning, US Secretary of State John Kerry’s arrival at IIT Delhi for a function was delayed. When he finally did arrive, Kerry jokingly asked the students, “Have you come here in boats?”. In a wide ranging speech on the importance of Indo-US ties Kerry spoke of the importance of deepening economic relations between the two countries. “President Obama and PM Modi have established a personal relationship that is built on the common sense of purpose and vision,” Kerry said. “We are very encouraged by the steps taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in pursuing key initiatives such as Startup India… The Indian government has passed GST bill and new bankruptcy laws, made changes in foreign investment regulations. India is an established power and an essential partner of the US. India is playing a crucial role in the world today,” he added.
Talking about the need to combat terrorism, Kerry said, “Terror groups like Daesh, Al Qaeda, LeT, JeM can’t be fought by a single nation alone. We have to ensure that terrorists have no place to hide, prepare or plan.” “We must strike at the root causes of violent extremism and we have to work hard to understand the different variations of causes. Because it does vary from country to country, location to location, place to place. It means combating, ending corruption wherever it exists so that you can rebuild trust in institutions,” he added.
Raking up the ‘intolerance debate’, Kerry said, “We have to respect rights of all our citizens irrespective of creed and allow them to protest in peace without fear that they will be jailed for speaking. We have to build the bridges of tolerance, acceptance and foster mutual understanding between different religions and sects. I applaud all those people involved in the inter-faith efforts.”
Highlighting the importance of encouraging entrepreneurs, Kerry said, “Next year India will co-host global entrepreneurship summit which will help showcase remarkable talent of Indian entrepreneurs. By 2020 India will be globe’s most populous nation with abundance of entrepreneurial ingenuity.” “Wherever I go, I find a robust debate, and an ambitious vision of future. This is perhaps in Indian DNA,” he added.