Ambassador Meera Shankar visited Boston from April 20-22, 2011.
In Boston, Ambassador Shankar met the President of MIT, Dr. Susan Hockfield; briefed her on education being a key focus area in India-US relations and invited MIT to partner with Indian institutions. Dr Hockfield was positive about MIT's ongoing cooperation with the IITs in Kanpur and Chennai, BITS Pilani, IIM Kolkata and IFMR Chennai and expressed the desire to expand collaboration with Indian institutions, particularly in areas of innovation and research. Ambassador Shankar also addressed the MIT India Forum on India's achievements and challenges as India moves toward greater socio-economic development and scientific and technological advancement.
Ambassador Shankar also met the President of Harvard University, Dr. Drew Faust and discussed prospects of closer collaboration between Harvard and Indian universities and research centres. Dr. Faust expressed satisfaction at Harvard's active engagement with several universities in India, citing examples of JNU, BHU, Jadhavpur University, Indian School of Business in Hyderabad and universities in Manipal and Puducherry. Dr. Faust added that she keenly looked forward to her visit to India and hoped that the visit would lead to more institutional linkages and joint projects with India.
Ambassador Shankar invited high level participation from MIT and Harvard University at the India-US Education Summit being scheduled to be held in Washington, DC in June this year.
At the Harvard Kennedy School, Ambassador Shankar delivered a speech on "India-US Relations in an Asia Pacific Century" that was attended by senior faculty, scholars and students. [Full text available on the Embassy website]. She said that the centre of gravity of global challenges and opportunities is shifting rapidly to the Asia-Pacific region and that India and the US are today more aware of each other's Asia Pacific identities, which has brought the two countries closer. The traditional fragmentation of Asia into distinct and often mutually exclusive regions is losing its meaning because of the increasingly global nature of the challenges of today, many of which, such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, energy security, piracy and cyber threats emanate from Asia, especially from India's extended neighbourhood. India's growing trade and economic engagement with Asia (54% of India's exports go to Asia), a vibrant Indian diaspora, particularly in West Asia, Singapore and Malaysia, importance of the Indian Ocean region for India's security and economic development, Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements with South Korea, Singapore and Japan and a Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Partnership with the ASEAN countries are some of the indicators of India's larger interests in Asia. India's engagement in Asia has increasingly also extended to strategic and political processes. India participates in the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting plus Eight process. India has dialogues on security cooperation with Japan and Australia. India views the US as an Asia Pacific power, which has a role and stake in the future of Asia. As part of the increasingly global nature of the India-US partnership, the two countries have agreed to work together and with other countries of the region for evolution of an open, balanced and inclusive architecture in the region. Ambassador also pointed out that India-US cooperation in counter-terrorism, defence and energy security, including civil nuclear energy have positive implications for the challenges that Asia faces. As members of the G-20, India and the US are already collaborating to ensure a sustained global economic recovery. There has been some progress in giving greater voice to emerging economies in the global financial and economic architecture, the process needs to be carried forward and extended to other dimensions of global governance. As part of this larger effort, President Obama's publicly articulated US support to India as a member of an expanded UN Security Council is a recognition of India's capability and role in addressing global challenges.
Ambassador Shankar called on the Governor of Massachusetts Mr Dewal Patrick. The two discussed opportunities for collaboration between India and enterprises in Massachusetts in the areas of biotechnology, wind, solar and other renewable forms of energy, robotics etc.. Governor Patrick said he was deeply impressed by India's economic growth and development and that he was optimistic of greater collaboration between Indian companies and technology firms of Massachusetts. He informed Ambassador of his intention to lead a high-level trade and technology mission from Massachusetts to India, possibly early next year. Ambassador assured all possible assistance for the mission.