India Aviation 2014: International Exhibition & Conference on Civil Aviation - Remarks
The Honorable Leocadia I. Zak, Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency
March 12, 2014 — Good morning. I am personally delighted to be back in India, and to see so many friends and partners here today. On behalf of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, it is my pleasure to be here for the opening of India Aviation 2014. I am proud to represent the government of the United States, India's partner country for this important event. I would especially like to thank Minister Singh for inviting me here today.
The United States and India have a dynamic and enduring partnership. We are the world's two leading democracies – ours the oldest, yours the largest. We share a form of government – but more importantly, we share a set of values that defines our engagement. And it is that spirit of cooperation which will help define our two countries' economic futures.
President Obama spoke of this cooperative spirit during his last visit to India. He described what he called "the spirit of partnership between our nations," and said that, "even as we honor the histories which in different times kept us apart, even as we preserve what makes us unique in a globalized world, we can recognize how much we can achieve together."
We have already achieved much success together. Since its founding, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency has worked with our partners from the U.S. and India to contribute to the growth and modernization of India's infrastructure, particularly in the field of aviation. Aviation is a critical sector for this type of collaboration – it links our people, including the nearly three million Indians who now call the United States their home, and, even more importantly, it drives our trade, our mutual investment and our shared economic growth. USTDA and our partners understand that investment in aviation means a stronger connection between our countries, and broader growth across our economies.
That is why, seven years ago, we came together to launch the U.S.-India Aviation Cooperation Program. This innovative public-private partnership has introduced state-of-the-art aviation technology in India, and helped India's aviation personnel develop the skills needed to successfully integrate this technology. It has also provided a critical avenue for dialogue between our countries' regulatory officials, as well as for engagement with experts who can help advance India's aviation goals. Indeed, the ACP has come to exemplify the U.S.-India relationship that President Obama envisioned during his time here – that is, "a global partnership to meet global challenges."
As we have already heard today, India is projected to become the world's third-largest domestic aviation market by the end of this decade—an incredible accomplishment. But we all know that with this success comes unique challenges. For example, as India's passenger traffic is expected to surpass 450 million passengers annually by 2020, the country will be challenged to efficiently route the growing number of planes in its airspace.
However, working together we can address those challenges, and as a matter of fact, we already are. Last fall, USTDA and the ACP hosted the U.S.-India Aviation Summit in Washington, DC. It was an impressive gathering of Indian and U.S. government officials, including Minister Singh and Transportation Secretary Foxx, and more importantly U.S. aviation industry leaders.
During the Summit, the participants tackled timely topics such as evaluation and testing of airport security equipment, airspace capacity and modern navigation systems, and expanding airport infrastructure to meet India's growing needs. In the end, however, we not only summarized our accomplishments, nor simply outlined areas of potential collaboration—in fact, we created a roadmap for our future cooperation.
That is why I am so happy to be here today—not only to attend this magnificent air show, but also to witness the fulfillment of some of those agenda items we created last fall. Toward that goal, I will witness two contract signings later today between the AAI and leading U.S. companies.
The first, with ACP member GE/Naverus, will provide a demonstration of performance-based navigation technology at three Indian airports and will train AAI personnel on the uses of this advanced system. The second, a collaboration between the AAI and Hi Tech Systems, will ensure that Indian airport officials can access and share accurate, timely aeronautical information.
Both of these activities will help to respond to the increase in passenger traffic in Indian skies, a priority that was articulated by the Government of India at last fall's Summit.
Finally, while we are here in Hyderabad, the ACP will convene a roundtable discussion with India's civil aviation leadership and U.S. technical experts to build upon the outcomes of the U.S.-India Aviation Summit. ACP members will discuss how U.S. industry can cooperate with the Government of India to support other priority aviation objectives—such as development of low-cost airports, promotion of regional connectivity and enhanced aviation training. All, impressive initiatives.
The U.S.-India Aviation Cooperation Program has already made tremendous progress working together with India. And I am confident that the ACP will continue to be a valuable vehicle for achieving shared goals. I have already referenced President Obama's vision for our global partnership, but I would like to close by quoting Prime Minster Singh, who has said that, "India and the United States must play a leading role in building a shared destiny for all humankind." I agree – and I am here today to say that we are heeding that call, especially in the field of aviation. Through events like this airshow, and especially through partnerships like the Aviation Cooperation Program, our two nations are building a shared destiny that will define our countries' progress for generations to come.
On behalf of the United States, and especially the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, thank you for the opportunity to be here today and congratulations on this outstanding event. Thank you.
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