US engaging India to expand access to global economy: Rice

October 8th, 2008 - 10:24 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 8 (IANS) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the US has been deepening its engagement with emerging economic leaders like India, China and Brazil in a bid to expand access to the global economy.The Bush administration is working very closely with other countries and the international financial institutions to respond effectively to the current global economic crisis, she said at the World Steel Association’s 42nd Annual Meeting here Tuesday.

But for the last several years, it has been trying to build on the fundamentals to expand access to the global economy, said Rice, noting: “We have indeed been deepening our engagement, as was just said, with emerging economic leaders.”

“We have strong, strong relationships with China, and with India, where I just visited, and with Brazil and with others,” she said.”Because the international system is changing, and the emergence of these great, large countries, has got to be accommodated in an international framework.”

The newly elected chairman of the World Steel Association, London-based Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Niwas Mittal introduced America’s top diplomat to the audience.

The US had convened the Major Economies framework to seek a new and better approach to the interrelated issues of climate change, energy security, and economic growth, said Rice. “And they are indeed inter-related.”

“In short, the administration has sought to contribute a responsible international solution to what is one of the central challenges facing every country in the 21st century - to develop a confident, constructive, and sustainable engagement with the global economy,” she said.

Rice said decades of global economic growth and greater expansion of trade and opportunity has seen more people worldwide lifting themselves out of poverty than at any other time in history.

But “what can give the people a sense of directing their lives toward an end, rather than simply being swept by impersonal forces”, she asked, suggesting every country must recognise how transforming educational opportunity for all can be.

Be it Afghanistan, the Middle East, Kuwait or Africa, “where we know that if women are educated and given a chance, they don’t just lift up their families, they lift up whole villages, and provide opportunity and well-being for whole villages.

“Or on the subcontinent, where I just visited in India, a place where universities are springing up all over to bring innovation and technology to the core so that those great Indian software scientists who are populating my home, the Silicon Valley, might also populate Hyderabad,” Rice said.

The top US diplomat said she believed “strongly that if we focus on all of these fundamentals, but particularly on investing in people,” they can be confident enough to tell their leaders that “we don’t have to be fearful and we don’t have to turn inward and we don’t have to protect. Because the economic pie can grow for all”.

“As business leaders, I know that you will advocate for that view, because without confidence in a global economy, nothing will really be possible for economic growth,” Rice said.

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