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US, India focused on strengthening relationship: Official

India and the US are very focused on ensuring that the agreements signed during the meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month are operationalised and implemented, a top American diplomat has said.



Washington: India and the US are very focused on ensuring that the agreements signed during the meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month are operationalised and implemented, a top American diplomat has said.

"It (Obama's India trip) was also important because both leaders committed not only in these agreements and outcomes, but were very focused on ensuring that these agreements and outcomes are operationalised and implemented," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, said yesterday.

Even before many of us had left Delhi, we were talking about next steps. And I know now that the foreign secretary and (US) ambassador (to India) Rich Verma have agreed to a process that they will chair in Delhi on ensuring that the implementation moves forward aggressively, she said.

"We are certainly working very hard here in Washington to supplement those efforts and to make sure that we are moving things across the interagency in a timely fashion," Biswal said, adding that the most intensive aspect of engagement in the region in the past several months has been on the India relationship.

We did have a very big and very successful visit by the President to India on January 26th to be chief guest for Republic Day, she said.

"It was not only a very important visit in terms of all of the very positive atmospherics and the opportunity to convey deepening of the relationship and the convergence of our societies, economies, our objectives bilaterally, regionally, and globally, it was an important visit in terms of the agreements and outcomes as well that emanated between the meeting of the two leaders and our two teams," Biswal said.

Biswal refrained from making any comment on Obama's remarks on religious tolerance in India.

"It was a very powerful speech and I got very positive feedback, frankly, from everyone that I spoke to, both within government and elsewhere. The speech speaks for itself, and it speaks about shared values that define our partnership and our relationship," she said.

The President, in recent weeks, has talked quite compellingly about the need for all of us to be perfecting our own societies, our own democracies, as we seek to create a more perfect union, as he put it, she said.

"I was in the room for both occasions, and I personally felt just incredibly moved and inspired by the President's words and his commitment to defining that which unites us rather than that which divides us," Biswal said.

"President's words were quite self-explanatory and then compelling on these issues that confront all communities, all societies, all countries around the globe, and what we can do to work together to address the violent extremism that we encounter and what are more compelling, effective ways to bring societies together, she said. 

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