‘India looking at Obama`s visit with great hope’

People of India are looking US President Barack Obama`s visit with great hope and optimism, and this will herald a new era of relationship between the two nations, Indian Ambassador to the US has said.

Last Updated: Oct 14, 2010, 10:30 AM IST

Washington: People of India are looking
US President Barack Obama`s visit with great hope and
optimism, and this will herald a new era of relationship
between the two nations, Indian Ambassador to the US has said.

"We look forward to President Obama`s visit to India
next month with great hope and optimism and as an opportunity
at highest political level to steer our relationship onto a
new higher plane," said Meera Shankar, Indian envoy to the US.

Addressing students of George Washington University,
Shankar said the basic fundamentals of India-US relations,
regardless of any minor issue-specific differences, give
confidence that the strategic dimension of this relationship
would truly manifest itself in practical terms through joint
efforts in all areas of cooperation, including at the
international level.

"Both countries have the strong political will to move
in this direction. We share common interests and concerns, and
jointly seek to build our relationship as a long-term global
partnership. Both countries have expressed conviction that
enduring bilateral relations do not serve us only bilaterally,
but also in meaningfully addressing new global threats and
challenges," she said on Tuesday.

Shankar said Obama visit to India in November promises
to be a landmark visit.

"We look forward to not only consolidating the
enormous strides that we have taken in our relationship in
recent years but also to set directions and lay out a vision
for the future course of our strategic partnership," she had
said in her speech, provided by Indian Embassy in Washington.

"India and the US hold regular and candid dialogue on
Afghanistan and Pakistan; we exchange views and coordinate
approaches on other developments in South Asia; we have
commenced a dialogue on East Asia and the evolving Asian
economic and security architecture. We discuss how we can work
together for development of Africa," she said.

In the larger Asian and global context, both the US
and India have begun exploratory discussions on how they can
work together to ensure the safety of the Global Commons including maritime security and protecting the domains of
space and cyber space, Shankar said.

Nothing was a greater symbol and instrument of
transformation in India-US relations than the Civil Nuclear
Agreement, she said adding that it not only addressed an issue
which had constrained the full potential of the bilateral
relationship but also created new economic opportunities to
cooperate in the areas of civil nuclear energy, energy
security, climate change and nuclear proliferation.

"India has identified two sites for building nuclear
reactors in cooperation with US companies and we hope to
commence commercial negotiations shortly. A new dimension is
our Space cooperation with India`s first moon mission,
Chandrayaan 1, carrying a NASA payload which detected the
existence of water on the moon.

"There are good prospects for expanding this
cooperation in other areas such as exchange of data for
weather prediction and climate change, space exploration and
space flights," she said.

Seeking US help in securing Permanent Membership of
the UN Security Council, Shankar argued the need for the two
countries to work together to reform the international
architecture of global governance.

"We are already moving towards more representative
mechanisms for global financial and economic management, but
we need to reform the institutions that deal with political
and security challenges including the UN. Security Council for
which there is growing support," she said.

"This would not only enhance their legitimacy but also
impact positively on the efficacy of these institutions. As a
country of over a billion people, with one of the fastest
growing economies and as a democratic nation, India is willing
to assume its responsibility to meet the global challenges of
our times," Shankar said.

PTI