Youth Forum on Foreign Policy (YFFP), an independent initiative to encourage dialogue on foreign policy amongst the youth, held an embassy dialogue with Mr. Richard Verma, Ambassador of the United States to India at The American Centre. The event was part of YFFP’s embassy dialogue series, held on 19th January. The main agenda was to examine the India – US relationship and deliberate on issues of strategic importance between the two nations.
The session started off with an introductory address by the ambassador Mr. Richard Verma, where he described India and United States to be ‘compatible democracies’, owing to the fact that both the nations value innovative young minds. Following the address, questions were welcomed from the audience, which consisted mainly of young students from different fields of study.
A lot of emphasis was put on the cooperation between United States and India and its role on battling the growing threat of terrorism all over the world. According to Mr. Verma, this threat has grown because of unorganized and asymmetric actors which mostly propagate extremist ideologies, often which are violent in nature. The biggest factor contributing to growth of these actors is recruitment of new people, which is often involuntary, and according to him we need to use the combined power of law, military and intelligence to put an end to such an influx.
Upon further discussion, the issue of arms race and growing militarization among nations came up, which then steered the course of the discussion towards a question of the United States aiding Pakistan with nuclear weapons. As an answer to this, the Ambassador highlighted the lack of empathy between India and Pakistan, highlighting a very sensitive matter for the two nations, the Ambassador continued stating that the aid provided to Pakistan is being duly monitored by dozens of agents on the ground, making sure that the technology does not fall into wrong hands.
Nearing the end, the audience raised a fresh question about the financial aid from America to India for the development of research initiatives in the country along with the question on recent restrictions on student visa in America. To this Mr. Verma cited example of Infosys campus in Mysore being one of the most technologically advanced and research based campuses in the world, emphasizing that financial aid if any, needs to come from the private sector. This also relates to the student migration from India to US being high, but the opposite is not true, hence new initiatives are being undertaken to increase interest levels in American students to see India as a viable option for higher studies.
The sessions was then concluded and left the audience with a better understanding of the intricacies of India – US relations, giving them a glimpse of the deep waters of diplomacy among nations.
DU Beat is the official media partner of YFFP.
Feature image credits: Youth Forum on Foreign Policy