New Delhi, India
Over these last seven days, I have been witness to some very powerful stories. One of them occurred when I was walking through the home in Mumbai of Mahatma Gandhi and touring that residence – very, very moving experience. And I understand that Mahatma Gandhi played the leading role in getting FICCI going as India began its own industry in answer to colonialism and the fact that so much of the business and resources and commerce had been foreign-controlled in India. And Gandhi challenged the business leaders of India to come together to form their own association – to be that powerful voice for industry. He understood that there is no true justice without a job, and that opportunity for all is the goal of our society.
I wanted to share with you just some thoughts. We have had the wonderful experience here in India over the last seven days. Minister, we arrived and departed through some of the most modern airports you will find anywhere in the world. We have met with the GMR group. We have met with the GVK Group. And what you’ve been able to pull off with the public-private partnerships for the modern and the new India is really phenomenal.
Earlier this morning, we checked out of ITC hotel, which is a platinum-certified hotel about sustainability and in finding a more harmonious way for humankind to live and balance with the other living systems of this world. Earlier this morning we were in Apeda with FDA officials and Indian officials and people from the University of Maryland, talking about the ways that we can create better supply chains for food, and food security. We had the occasion to meet and hear the story of Jubilant.
And I want to thank our sponsors here today, Ajay Khanna, who’s with us from Jubilant. We heard that great presentation from Mr. Agrawal about your experience in Salisbury. I could not tell a better story about Maryland, sir, than the one you told about Maryland for us. But we have been witnessing quite a number of business signings and partnerships between leaders in India and leaders in Maryland.
We believe very, very firmly that there is more that unites us than divides us. The great Marylander Frederick Douglass once summed it up very beautifully when he said, over 100 years ago, that “We are one, and our cause is one. And we must help each other if we are to succeed.” The context within which he said that was the context that immediately followed our own Civil War, and a clash over the dignity of the individual – the rights of men. But what he said then is also true of us in this global economy…. We are one. And we must help each other if we are to succeed.
So it is great to be with you here in India. We have been working toward Sister State agreements, and we met with the chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh and also Maharashtra state, and we hope to be able to administer in the spirit in which you articulated those visions, to be able to break through the crust that often defines national relationships and link more organically for these relationships between our people. As you so beautifully said, if our two national governments never did a single thing in agreement, the fact of the matter is our people are coming together – and that’s the movement of this whole world. It’s for greater connection and for greater collaborations. And I look forward to working with you as we make strides in those agreements.
We chose to come to India for one reason. And that is because it is the only economically responsible course of action for any state in the United States. We must become more engaged in this world economy, and we know that India is a tremendous market, tremendous promise, tremendous demand for the sorts of solutions, the innovation that diversity can bring forward to this world. There are many things that we share as Marylanders and as Indians – as Americans and as Indians. But let me speak to this as a Marylander.
In Maryland, we understand that our diversity is our strength. And you understand that as well. We understand that democracy, while it may have its shortcomings, is a better form of government than any other one that’s been created on this planet. And so we understand that democracy is the way.
We also understand the fundamental truth that’s true in economics throughout the development of civilization throughout the world, and it is this: in order to create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments. You cannot create jobs in a modern economy without modern investments. And that’s why we’re so proud to witness some signings like with the Chesapeake Investment Group with CyberPoint, with Premier Rides and Sheladia Associates and many, many others.
Maryland and India are places of great history. We already share many bonds. There are more than 3,000 businesses that are owned by Indian Americans that employ 27,000 people in our State. We are also home to the U.S. operations of six Indian companies. We’re so very, very proud of Jubilant and your plans for growth in our State. Two years ago we opened a trade and investment office e in Delhi, and there are a number of organizations in our State committed to strengthening those ties.
Both of our economies are Innovation Economies, and we have – the second largest group of foreign students who study at the University of Maryland are Indian students. We have some of our leaders of our best universities who’ve traveled with us, including the President of the University of Maryland College Park, who has brought with him many leaders of his school, including the Dean of the Smith School of Business who is with us. And we also have the President of Morgan University who is with us, one of the institutions of excellence among our historically black colleges and universities that produces more black engineers in our country than any other university in our country.
We also boast the largest delegation of Indian American delegates that are sent to any Assembly in any state in the United States. [Applause]
We have a larger Indian American caucus than California… a larger Indian American caucus than New York… and all three of them traveled here today. Aruna Miller is accompanying Judge O’Malley on another portion of this mission – but two-thirds of the caucus is here. And one of them is Delegate Sam Arora. Sam, if you would stand. [Applause]
And the other is the Majority Leader of the Maryland General Assembly – so he’s who I depend upon to count all the votes – and he is Kumar Barve, the Majority Leader of the Maryland General Assembly. [Applause]
Look, there are many things I’d like to tell you about my home State of Maryland – others have done most of the work for me. I’d like to tell you about her history, about her beauty, about the diversity of her people and her landscapes, about her waters confidently falling in the sea. But there are just three things – especially in these times of change and great challenge to the ongoing existence really, of the human species on this planet that I would like to share with you about the people that I have the honor to serve.
Number 1 is the value and importance that we place on education for all. We understand that the more a person learns, the more a person earns, and therefore the more a person contributes to our economy. We have been named the number 1 schools in America three years in a row – not by chance, but by choice. We chose to make the investment. More of our children take advanced placement college courses in high school than in any other state in the union. And for four years in a row, alone among the states in the United States, we had not a single penny’s increase in college tuition, so that more working families could send their children to college.
Secondly, is the leading position that Maryland has now taken in this new Innovation Economy. Because of what we have invested in the brainpower, the talent and the creative capacity of our people, we are leaders in this Innovation Economy in areas like in bio-tech, life sciences, earth sciences, information technology, cyber-security, aerospace and many, many others. We are home to such national innovative assets as the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institute of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Security Agency. We have Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland Hospital. We do more than $3.3 billion of research – mostly in healing in our State – which makes us number 1 per capita, and number 2 in total amount, even though we are only two percent of our nation.
Thirdly, and finally, is the collective power of our people. The collective power of our people – that they have been able to forge time and time again – to create a new and better tomorrow for our children; a future that we can only really achieve by the choices and the investments that we make together.
We have chosen to come to India because one of the most important choices that we can make in these times – whether we are the leader of a business, the leader of a county, the leader of a state – is to be more engaged in the global economy. That’s why we have come to India.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Democracy must, in essence, mean the art and science of mobilizing the entire physical, economic and spiritual resources of all the various sections of a people in the service of the common good of all.”
There is an echo that has long passed back and forth between the people of India and the people of the United States. There is a reason why when Prime Minister Singh and President Obama came together, that President Obama told all of us that the relationship between the people of India and the people of the United States must be the defining relationship of our time. These eternal echoes have been in existence, really, since the founding of our country. It is the echo in the ancient Indian wisdoms that were read by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thoreau and that they themselves put into actions and put into writings – writings that then influenced the Great Soul of Mahatma Gandhi. And the actions that he took – writings and actions that then, in turn, echoed back to Martin Luther King.
There are echoes between our people, and the spirit of our people, that reminds us that we are one, that we are all in this together and that we must help each other if we are to succeed.
In these times we have an obligation – a duty – to write a new story. Think about these facts: population has doubled just in these forty years as a planet, the first time it’s happened in such a short period of time. We are seeing 95 percent of the world’s scientists warning us that this population – the traditional ways that we have fueled this world of ours is threatening the very existence of human life in generational standpoints because of the damage that we are doing to the atmosphere. Just a couple of years ago, we saw that the connectedness of this world – what a threat that can be to the spread of rapid pandemic in the Swine flu pandemic.
Our challenge in the story that we have the duty, the responsibility, the opportunity to write is a tremendous story. It is a needed story. And it is the biggest challenges that have ever faced mankind. And that is: how in balance with the other living systems of this planet, we can innovate, create and come up with better ways to feed, to fuel, to heal and to secure this world of ours. This collaboration, this partnership will determine for how much longer the experiment of the Homo sapiens will be consistent with the emerging story of the universe.
Our hope is this: we are also the first generation ever to view this globe from outer space. We are the first generation that actually has the ability through technology like G.I.S. to map every single parcel of this planet and understand how it fits and how it works together. And we are the first generation of human beings ever to make real that vision that Teilhard de Chardin saw of that “Noosphere” – of that network of human intelligence and kindness that can come together in order to create that new and better tomorrow.
If we are going to create a world that we can be proud to pass on to our children and our grandchildren, there is a tremendous amount that is required of us – as Americans, and as Indians. We must make collaboration the new competition.
A gentleman earlier today at the Apeda headquarters said, “We should not be looking to other worlds for peace.” We should not be looking to other worlds for peace…. Peace is here. Our duty, as Indians and Americans, is to find it. Our duty together, as Indians and as Americans, is to grow it and to raise it. Our duty as Indians and as Americans, is to harvest it – not just for ourselves, but for generations that will come after ours, so that together, we as Indians and as Americans we can say with the great American revolutionary Thomas Paine, “To do good is my religion. The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren.”