US Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey R Pyatt has used a unique culinary metaphor to describe the evolving trade relationship between India and the US. He stated that the trade ties between the two countries were no longer "flat as a 'chapati'", but had expanded and become "big and puffed up like a 'puri'".
This statement was made during a discussion about foreign trade agreements between the two countries, highlighting the significant growth and strengthening of bilateral trade and investment ties.
"Nobody today characterises their trade relationship as flat as a 'chapati'. It has become big and puffed up like a 'puri'. I think we are not currently involved in any kind of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiation with India, but we have ongoing and important negotiations about how to facilitate a further deepening of our trade relationship," Pyatt said in a virtual briefing.
The US official's comments reflect the dynamic nature of the India-US trade partnership, which has seen a substantial increase in goods exports from the US to India, reaching $47.2 billion in 2022. This marks a 17.9 per cent rise from the previous year and a 113 per cent increase from 2012.
Responding to a question on India-US relations in terms of energy security amid the Red Sea crisis, Pyatt praised the Indian Navy for its prompt action to rescue a tanker ship against attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels. He said the Indian Navy's action showed India's capacity as a net security provider that benefits the US.
"We are living through a moment of unprecedented turmoil in the international system. What's happening to global container shipping as containerised shipping has been rerouted, and what impact has that had on inflation? The Indian Navy intervened to save a tanker ship that was on fire as a result of a Houthi missile strike," he said.
"It was the Indian Navy that came to the rescue of that ship. It illustrates India's capacity as a net security provider in the wider region, which benefits the US," he added.
Pyatt, who was on a visit to India from January 26 to 31, said he discussed with Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri the disruption of global energy markets in the aftermath of Houthi attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea, the Israel-Hamas war and the Russia-Ukraine war.
"Our shared interest lies in the stability of the global energy markets, delivering the energy our citizens need and we are doing so in a way that has the lowest possible carbon footprint," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Since November last year, Houthis, who are backed by Iran, have been launching attacks on the Red Sea, saying they were targeting vessels linked to Israel amid the war in Gaza. The rebels, who have justified their action, in support of the Palestinians in Gaza, have vowed to carry out their assaults until Israel stops fighting.