Amb Ken Juster’s farewell speech invoked Swami Vivekananda’s famous Chicago address, and highlighted the past four years as a stand-out period in US-India relations, calling it a “time of ambition and achievement.”
Outgoing US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster delivered a farewell address on the US-India partnership and recalled Swami Vivekananda’s address at the World’s Parliament of Religions at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago: “Sisters and Brothers of America, it fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us.” Juster stated he felt the same way living and working in India.
Kenneth also spoke about various achievements that have helped strengthen the partnership between India and the United States. He highlighted how the tectonic plates of the system are shifting while pointing at the rise of China and the impact of the pandemic that has devastated the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere. He said: ”The region needs stability, leadership, and a democratic model for development that does not threaten the sovereignty of other countries. This is why a strong and democratic India is an important partner to promote peace and prosperity.”
He pointed out that over the past two decades, strategic partnerships between the two countries have always been on an upward trajectory, but “the past four years stand out as a time of ambition and achievement in the relationship.”
In his address, Kenneth reviewed the attributions and ambitions that the partnership with India has brought over the past few years including:
Diplomatic Cooperation and the Indo-Pacific Region: “Our more recent diplomatic coordination flows from our shared vision of the Indo-Pacific region. While the concept of the Indo-Pacific has been many years in the making, it is in the past four years that our countries have shown the ambition to turn it into a reality.”
Defense and Counterterrorism: “Our bilateral defense and security partnership reached a new level in 2018 with the inaugural 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue – a cabinet-level meeting among U.S. and Indian defense and foreign policy leaders. This important step reflected our increasingly close defense ties and provided a framework for coordinating and expanding our joint activities to preserve peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.”
Economic and Commercial Relations: “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. trade and investment relationship with India continued to grow and expand.” He also said: “16 percent of India’s total exports head to the United States. The United States is now India’s largest trading partner, and India the twelfth largest partner of the United States.”
Energy: “The Strategic Energy Partnership has expanded energy engagement through both government and industry channels.”
Health and Biomedical Innovation: “Our history of successful cooperation shaped our joint response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the onset of the pandemic, public health scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – known as the CDC – have supported India’s COVID-19 field response. Hundreds of Indian graduates of CDC training programs have been at the forefront of India’s efforts, providing expertise to prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 virus across the country.”
People-to-People Ties: Kenneth said the people-to-people relation is “anchored by approximately four million Indian Americans.” He further added: “Our people-to-people relationship forms both a strong foundation and a driving force for what our nations can do together.”
Kenneth concluded by stating that when one steps back and looks “at where the United States and India were 20 years ago and where we are today, the amount of progress and achievement is truly remarkable.”
He expressed his gratitude and said that it was an honor and responsibility to represent the United States as ambassador to anywhere in the world but being the US Ambassador to India was a special privilege.
US President Donald Trump nominated Kenneth Juster on September 5, 2017 to be the United States Ambassador to India. He was confirmed by unanimous consent of the US Senate on November 2, 2017.