US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday described the timing of her visit to India at “a pivotal moment for the global economy” when the world is dealing with lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and spillovers from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “barbaric war” in Ukraine.
Speaking after visiting the Microsoft campus in Noida, Yellen said: “We are dealing with a confluence of headwinds. The lingering effects of the pandemic, spillovers from Putin’s barbaric war in Ukraine, and macroeconomic tightening as many countries grapple with inflation.
“Emerging markets and developing countries are particularly under pressure. Tens of millions more people face extreme poverty and hunger since Russia’s war in Ukraine began.”
Yellen had arrived in India earlier in the day.
She said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was correct when he said that this “is not an era of war”.
“I believe that ending Russia’s war is a moral imperative. It is also the single best thing we can do to help the global economy. This is a view broadly shared among policymakers of the world’s major economies,” Yellen emphasised.
Quoting US President Joe Viden, Yellen said that India is one of America’s indispensable partners.
“The dynamism I’ve felt at Microsoft today is a testament to the talent of the Indian people and the vibrancy of its culture. It is no surprise that India is among the fastest-growing major economies in the world,” she said.
Speaking on New Delhi-Washington ties, the Treasury Secretary said: “The trajectory of the global economy will be shaped by the work that India and the US undertake together. The same is true for the prosperity and security of the Indo-Pacific. As a lead developing country and the world’s largest economy, we have great opportunity and great responsibility to make progress on the world’s most intractable problems.
“In fact, I think that our continued partnership is an example of how advanced and developing countries can bridge policy differences and move forward on major policy objectives.”
Highlighting the deep collaboration between the two nations in the field of technology, Yellen said: “The dynamism of our relationship can especially be seen in the technology sector. Our people and our companies depend on each other on a daily basis. Indians frequently use WhatsApp to communicate; many American companies rely on Infosys to operate.
“Leaders of Indian descent populate the highest ranks of Google, Microsoft, and other valuable American companies. They’re also responsible for starting a third of all immigrant-founded startups in the US.”
Both US and India are working on the common agenda of supply side economy, she noted.
Referring to the Ukraine war, Yellen said recent disruptions have contributed to higher prices in both of our countries and sapped economic output.
For too long, countries around the world have been overly dependent on risky countries or a single source for critical inputs, she added.
“Take Russian energy exports. Russia has long presented itself as a reliable energy partner. But for the better part of this year, Putin has weaponised Russia’s natural gas supply against the people of Europe. It’s an example of how malicious actors can use their market positions to try to gain geopolitical leverage or disrupt trade for their own gain.”
The US, she said, welcomes India’s ambition to become a powerhouse in the areas of green hydrogen and other renewable technologies like solar.
“More broadly, India and the United States are the world’s largest democracies. We are living at a critical time for the cause of freedom around the world. Democracies require our constant attention,” Yellen added.
The Treasury Secretary further noted that “in the Indo-Pacific region, our shared objective is to advance prosperity and maintain peace and security”.
“India and the US remain committed to upholding the rules-based international order. We are working with our allies and partners to tackle global challenges through the Quad and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. The US’ leadership in establishing IPEF demonstrates our commitment to the region,” she said, adding that the US and India “share an interest in strengthening our supply chains in a world where certain governments wield trade as a geopolitical weapon”.
“Let me explain an approach that the US is taking to minimize supply chain vulnerabilities. It’s called ‘friendshoring’. The US believes in economic integration. Exports enable countries to expand production and provide good-paying jobs in industries where they have a comparative advantage.
“Imports provide consumers and businesses with cheaper goods and a broader array of choices. Trade also facilitates the cross-pollination of ideas that is vital to discovery and innovation,” she underlined.
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