Saturday, June 5, 2010

India-US Strategic Cooperation: S.M. Krishna Visits Washington

India and the United States concluded their first cabinet-level strategic dialogue on 4 June. Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna on 3 June told US President Barack Obama that India 'can be a dependable anchor' in Asia-Pacific region's growth, even as he emphasized that New Delhi considered its relationship with Washington as 'one of our foremost foreign policy priorities.'

Earlier Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held discussions as part of the first-ever Strategic Dialogue between the two nations, which encompassed subjects like economic cooperation, high technology exports to India, cooperation over climate change among other things.

Foremost Priorities
India considers its relationship with the US as a top foreign policy priority as the partnership is destined to have a strong impact on global stability, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told President Barack Obama on 3 June. The president, we consider the mutually beneficial relationship with the United States to be one of our foremost foreign policy priorities,' he said. Krishna also lauded Obama for 'taking strong interest in the future of the Asia-Pacific region, while adding that India can be a dependable anchor of the region's growth.

Nuclear Liability Regime: India is committed to putting in place a nuclear liability regime, Foreign Minister Krishna said even as he invited US firms to invest in India. Speaking before the start of the United States-India Strategic Dialogue at an event hosted by the US-India Business Council, the Indian foreign minister said many US firms were in dialogue with Indian companies. We would like it to be as robust a partnership as we have both envisioned.

Pledge To Deepen Ties
India and the United States concluded their first cabinet-level Strategic Dialogue on 4 June, pledging to deepen ties between the two nations. Clinton and Krishna pledged to deepen people-to-people, business-to-business and government-to-government linkages between the world's oldest and largest democracies for the mutual benefit of both countries and for the promotion of global peace, stability, economic growth and prosperity.

US Intervention for Access to Headley
The Indian foreign minister sought the US secretary of state's intervention in New Delhi getting proper access to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks accused David Headley aka Daood Gilani, indicating that the US was 'yet to fulfill its pledge' in this regard three days after an Indian investigating team arrived here to question him.

Two-Way Trade in Advanced Technology
The Indian foreign minister projected high-tech commerce as a sheet anchor for India's ties with the US as the strategic dialogue got underway in Washington. 'Indian importers have a 100 percent compliance record when it comes to safeguarding imported technology -- we have been implementing the End-Use Verification Agreement with US partners for years. With this trust that we have built as strategic partners, we should be able to create robust two-way trade in advanced technology,' the Indian foreign minister said.

Diverge on Afghanistan
On the Afghan issue, it was learned that the thinking and paths adopted by India and US appeared to diverge. While Clinton hinted at 'reintegrating the Taliban fighters back into the society,' Krishna warned against engaging with any group that was involved in terror-related activities.

US Af-Pak Strategy
Favoring increased cooperation between India and the United States over Afghanistan. President Obama must have also realized that India cannot be ignored if he wants to ensure successful implementation of his Af-Pak strategy. He said that the United States and India together could 'considerably alter' the course of global affairs.

Obama's Expected India Visit
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke on 28 May with President Obama. The two leaders discussed the forthcoming Strategic Dialogue between the two countries scheduled next week in Washington. Both sides attach great priority to the dialogue as a means to strengthen bilateral engagement on a wide range of issues, including high technology trade, science & technology, civil nuclear cooperation, agriculture, human resource development, security and other strategic issues.

The two leaders took the opportunity to discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest. President Obama conveyed condolences on the loss of lives resulting from the air crash in Mangalore recently. The Prime Minister said that a warm welcome awaited the President and his family when they visit New Delhi.

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