India-US will shape the rest of this century: Clinton

By Arun Kumar, IANS

June 3rd, 2010

WASHINGTON – Fight against terrorism and nuclear security topped the agenda of India and the US as they set out the shape of a global partnership that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “will shape the rest of this century.”

“The global nature of the security challenges that we face today, particularly the threat posed by transnational terrorism, requires us to cooperate more closely than ever before,” said External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna as the two countries Thursday began their first ever strategic dialogue.

“Security is a top priority because both our nations have been seared by acts of terrorism on hour home soils,” Clinton said, outlining the contours of a partnership encompassing defence, education, energy, agriculture and climate change.

“Together we will discuss how to increase our cooperation on counter-terrorism by better sharing intelligence and training

first responders to make our own homelands safe,” she said. The threat of trans-national terrorism requires both India and the US to cooperate more closely than ever before, though the epicentre of this threat lies in India’s neighbourhood, it reaches far and wide all across the world as witnessed recently a few weeks back in Times Square,” Krishna said without naming Pakistan, which remains a key concern of India.

“Given the fact that the groups who preach the ideology of hatred and violence are increasingly coalescing, sharing

resources and operating as one, it is incumbent upon all of us, to focus our efforts laser-like on every one of them.

“Targeting only one or other of such groups would only provide false comfort in the short term and will not usher in long

term stability,” Krishna said, alluding to Pakistan not targeting groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, blamed for Mumbai terror

attacks.

Describing relationship with the US as one of the most important bilateral relationships, he said: “As India moves ahead

to achieve our priority tasks of economic and social transformation to allow our people to realize their full potential,

we have an increasing and well-justified stake in a stable international order”.

“We both have an abiding interest in a stable international order and in the maintenance of peace and stability in Asia

and beyond, and a tremendous opportunity is now before us to work together to achieve this objective,” Krishna said.

Another key area of bilateral dialogue is cooperation in high technology, he said noting that given the strategic nature

of their partnership and particularly the conclusion of the Civil Nuclear Initiative, export control restrictions “are not

only anomalous but also a hindrance to furthering trade and investment in this particularly significant sector of our

economies.

“India is not only a rising global power, but it’s already a regional power,” Clinton said and “through this dialogue we

will confront regional concerns, most urgently securing Afghanistan”.

“Beyond Afghanistan India and US want to work together to contribute to an open an inclusive regional architecture so it

makes it possible for countries of Asia to rise and prosper and gives India a great role to participate.”

The US was also committed to the modernisation of India’s military as demonstrated by their defence trade, Clinton said

noting the US military holds the maximum number of joint exercises with the Indian Army.

The landmark India-US civil nuclear deal provides the strong foundation for another security challenge, namely non-

proliferation, she said. Climate change was another item on Clinton’s priority list.

India’s rise will certainly be a factor in any future consideration of reform of UN Security Council, she assured like

other US officials without making a firm commitment of support for a permanent seat on the UN’s top decision making body

for India.

The high-powered Indian delegation includes Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Planning Commission Deputy

Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan and Foreign Secretary

Nirupama Rao.

The US side included Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller, and US

Undersecretary of State William Burns.

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