India, US release 'declaration of friendship', to elevate strategic partnership

Signalling renewed intensity in ties, India and the US on Sunday decided to further "elevate" the long-standing strategic partnership by enhancing cooperation in a raft of crucial areas including defence, trade and commerce, technology transfer, counter-terrorism and climate change.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 26, 2015, 00:44 AM IST
India, US release 'declaration of friendship', to elevate strategic partnership

New Delhi: Signalling renewed intensity in ties, India and the US on Sunday decided to further "elevate" the long-standing strategic partnership by enhancing cooperation in a raft of crucial areas including defence, trade and commerce, technology transfer, counter-terrorism and climate change.

Both the countries released a 'declaration of friendship' outlining broad contours of engagements after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama held extensive talks during which they broke the 7-year-old logjam in operationalising the civil nuclear deal.

The declaration title "Chalein saath saath; forward together we go" said India and the US agreed to elevate their long-standing strategic partnership and that each step being taken to strengthen the ties is a step towards shaping international security and regional and global peace.

Reflecting the natural affinity, the declaration proclaimed a higher level of trust and coordination that will continue to "draw our Governments and people together across the spectrum of human endeavor for a better world."

It said the two countries decided to hold regular Summits with increased periodicity as well as to elevate the Strategic Dialogue to a Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.

The strategic elements of the dialogue would continue to be chaired by India's External Affairs Minister and the US Secretary of State while the Commercial components of the dialogue would be led by India's Minister of Trade and Commerce and the US Secretary of Commerce.

This reflects the United States' and India's commitment to strengthen commercial and economic ties to advance mutual prosperity, regional economic growth and stability.

They also decided to cooperate to develop joint ventures on strategically significant projects and build meaningful security and effective counter-terrorism cooperation.

They also agreed to consult and hold regular consultations in multilateral forums and leverage the talents and strengths to enhance sustainable, inclusive development around the globe.

Modi and Obama acknowledged bilateral military ties as

the foundation of the defence relationship and encouraged their respective militaries to pursue additional opportunities for engagement through exercises, military personnel exchanges and defence dialogues.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction over the efforts made by both countries to deepen cooperation in the field of maritime security, as reflected in the 2015 Framework for the US-India Defense Relationship.

"To this end, they agreed that the navies of both sides would continue discussions to identify specific areas for expanding maritime cooperation. They also reiterated their commitment to upgrading their bilateral naval exercise MALABAR

"The two sides also noted the growing cooperation between their law enforcement agencies, particularly in the areas of extradition and mutual legal assistance, to counter transnational criminal threats such as terrorism, narcotics, trafficking, financial and economic fraud, cyber crime, and transnational organised crime and pledged to enhance such cooperation further," the statement said.

"The President and the Prime Minister also noted the serious risks to national and economic security from malicious cyber activity and agreed to cooperate on enhancing operational sharing of cyber threat information, examining how international law applies in cyberspace, and working together to build agreement on norms of responsible state behavior.

"Both the leaders acknowledged and expressed satisfaction at the qualitative reinvigoration of strategic ties and the intensity of substantive interactions since Modi's visit to Washington in September last year," the statement added.

Modi and Obama expressed confidence that continued bilateral collaboration will increase opportunities for investment, improve bilateral trade and investment ties and lead to the creation of jobs and prosperity in both economies.

"In this regard, the Leaders agreed to continue to strengthen their broad-based partnership for development through stronger trade, technology, manufacturing, and investment linkages between the two countries and triangular cooperation with partner countries, and that continued efforts to maintain labour standards as per domestic law and agreed international norms will make these linkages more durable," a joint statement said.

The President and the Prime Minister affirmed their shared commitment to facilitating increased bilateral investment flows and fostering an open and predictable climate for investment.

"To this end, the leaders instructed their officials to assess the prospects for moving forward with high-standard bilateral investment treaty discussions given their respective approaches," it said.

Obama commended Modi's "Jan Dhan" scheme to prioritise financial inclusion for India's poor.

Both the leaders also agreed to collaborate in the implementation of India's ambitious Digital India programme and expand commercial cooperation, including by encouraging investment engagement in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Acknowledging the potential for technological cooperation in the rail sector in augmenting and optimising India's rail infrastructure, the Leaders agreed to facilitate US Trade and Development Agency and Indian Railways technical cooperation that will assist Indian Railways' efforts to modify its leasing and public-private partnership frameworks to attract private sector funding.