India-US ties entering `golden era`: Roemer

Timothy Roemer reveals India and US were now promoting free elections in third countries.

Updated: Apr 29, 2011, 18:43 PM IST

New Delhi: India-US relations were entering a "golden era", outgoing US envoy Timothy Roemer said on Friday, revealing that the two countries were now promoting free elections in third countries.

"The US-India global partnership is on a trajectory that knows no limits," Roemer said in a speech at the American Chamber`s annual general meeting here, a day after he announced that he was returning home.

"We are entering a golden age in our relations that will result in us creating economic opportunities for our citizens, educating the leaders of tomorrow; and ensuring safe and secure communities throughout the world."

Roemer, who has completed two years in India, referred to a wide variety of areas where Washington and New Delhi have forged close links as he detailed their shared vision.

"With India, we are cooperating to promote open government and free elections in third countries, a historic move forward from India`s prior stance," he said.

"We are working with India in third countries, such as Afghanistan, where India and the US share the same goals and have the same vision," he added, without elaborating.

He said the US and India were collaborating and partnering "in almost every field, from defence to health, from education to trade, from energy to agriculture”.

"On security, defence, and intelligence, our cooperation has taken off since the signing of the Counter-terrorism Cooperation Initiative, in July 2010."

Roemer said that momentum in this area really took off when the US gave India access to Pakistani American David Headley, who had scouted targets to be attacked in Mumbai in 2008 by Pakistani terrorists.

"Our intelligence sharing has continued, providing benefits to both countries...Just a few weeks ago, almost 40 police officers from 14 central and 15 state agencies across India participated in Los Angeles in a Law Enforcement Executive Development seminar focusing on counterterrorism, crisis response, and mega-city policing.”

"Such exchanges were probably not possible just two or three years ago but are now occurring on a much more frequent basis. We all benefit when our law enforcement officials work together in this way."

Roemer underlined that he was leaving India only for personal reasons.

He said the two countries now held regular military exercises across all services "that are increasing in size and complexity as our militaries become more familiar with each other".

He added that American military sales "broaden India`s strategic and humanitarian response capabilities and strengthen India`s role as a force for good in Asia".

"There have been almost too many achievements on the political front for me to name but most of these were unthinkable just a few years ago."

There were also successes on the trade and economic front, he said.

"Our exports to India were up 17 percent in 2010 and we are on our way to achieving the President`s National Export Initiative goal of doubling exports in five years."

The ambassador admitted that America`s relationship with India was not perfect.

"No relationship is. We can tighten our intel sharing capabilities; we continue to urge India to further open its markets, liberalise its FDI regime, and to improve the transparency and predictability of doing business throughout India.

"Yet, the future for the US-India strategic partnership has never been brighter."