Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs Reta Jo Lewis landed in New Delhi Saturday to begin a trip throughout India as part of a plan for U.S.-India state-to-state partnerships. This initiative engages Indian state and local leaders throughout the country in a discussion of topics of mutual interest and partnership with their counterparts in the United States, such as trade and investment, infrastructure, education, science, and technology. Special Representative Lewis will travel to several cities within the Indian states of Assam, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Maharashtrato meet with chief ministers, mayors, and panchayat leaders, as well as with leaders in the business and academic communities.
This initiative follows the momentum for bilateral engagement built by Secretary Clinton, who returned from the second round of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue just a few weeks ago. Since the inaugural Strategic Dialogue in 2010, the U.S.-India partnership has flourished, resulting in advances in nearly every area of human endeavor. As Secretary Clinton and India’s Minister for External Affairs Shri S.M. Krishna expressed in a joint statement during her visit to India, “through this dialogue, we have expanded our strategic consultations and witnessed an expansion of the already robust people-to-people ties; scientific, space, and technology collaboration; clean energy cooperation; and connections among entrepreneurs and social innovators.”
Special Representative Lewis has worked on similar state-to-state initiatives in Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, and most recently China; however, this is her first visit to India, where she hopes to establish similar state-to-state collaborations as her office carries out Secretary Clinton’s vision of 21st Century Statecraft utilizing state leaders as sources of innovation, talent, resources, and knowledge towards a new era of global engagement that takes an imaginative look at how we conduct our foreign policy.
The Department of State (DOS) sees this two-week engagement tour throughout India as one of the many steps taken to continue to broaden and deepen the U.S.-India global strategic partnership since President Obama’s historic visit to India in November 2010. Special Representative Lewis explained that her goal for the trip is “to listen and to learn how state and local leaders in India hope to engage their U.S.counterparts. I’m very excited about this state-to-state engagement, but I need [their] vision for linking together regional leaders.”