Speech for the Indo American Society in Bombay, 25th January 2013

Speech by Jay Chauhan at the Indo American Society in Bombay on 25th January 2013 for the Republic Day of India

Speech by Jay Chauhan at the Indo American Society in Bombay on 25th January 2013 for the Republic Day of India by Jay Chauhan who is a lawyer in Ontario, and Advocate in Gujarat, India, and a Deputy Judge in Canada, visiting India.

President, Mr. Dilip Dalal, and Members of the Indo American Society. It is an honour and privilege for me to speak to your Society on the Indo American Relations. If I may, I would like to set our briefly the historical development of both India and America which may explain some common values and historical experience which will draw the two major countries together in the future.

America became a country united by the spirit of freedom and self governance with the Boston Tea Party in 1773 and unanimous declaration of independence declared by 13 states of the United States in 1776. This constitution with several amendments have confirmed the importance of democracy and value of each individual in a society.

US constitution was founded on the principle of equality of each person and his or her right to vote for the future of the country. About 250 years later, America built a society and democracy that today permits a person with black background to be the President, place a man on the moon and possess the strongest military power that history of mankind has ever known.

India chose a non violent path to independence, following Gandhiji’s view on non violence, rather than the military option of Subhashchandra Bose. Bahadur Shah Zafar lost Delhi in 1857 to the East India company which turned over the power to the British Parliament. It gave independence to India in 1947. The constitution of India was enacted on the Republic Day in 1950, which espouses the right of each Indian citizen to be free and equal in a democracy.

India was a rich nation for centuries and Christopher Columbus sought to navigate the world to reach India and discovered America on the way. The colonial rule permitted England to industrialize but left India behind. Prior to 1850ies India contributed almost 23% of the world GDP and it was reduced to about 3% by the time of independence.

India implemented five year plans after independence to redevelop the economy which could support the military defence of a country that houses nearly one sixth of the world population. It is a living civilization that goes back 5 thousand years to the days of Harappa.

Indian genius has succeeded not only developing the nuclear weapon, in keeping with its defence needs, but also in the last 20 years demonstrated both inside the country and outside, where many Indians now live, that India within a time span of 60 years is on a path of being the fourth largest economy of the world based on purchasing parity measurement.

In regaining its status among nations of the world, India, unlike China, and Pakistan, has chosen the path of democracy and human rights, and free enterprise, which are values which are shared both by India and United States.

America benefited a great deal from the skilled manpower and investment from Europe during 250 years of its industrial development. India’s fear of foreign domination fuelled by the memory of the last thousand years of foreign rule, has restricted foreign investment; but these restrictions are being relaxed as India gains confidence. India is coming out of the memory of racial prejudice imposed by the outsiders and regaining confidence needed for Indians to trade and those abroad to show their skills and accomplishments as seen in many technical companies in US, Canada and England.

Projecting in the future, US and India have a lot in common to work together to develop their economies and trade, along with helping the rest of the world to adopt the path of democracy and free enterprise to develop their respective societies. To achieve this path India needs to improve their democratic and legal institutions along the lines of what Gujarat has recently shown where the industrial growth rates match those of China.

India- US relations merit a closer look on the side of US with a view to seeing the long term future rather than the short term military and economic advantages.