New Delhi: External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Tuesday, reiterated the commitment to make India and US relationship one of the most global strategic partnerships of the 21st century. Importantly, Clinton also announced that the US remains committed to the civil nuclear agreement with India, while also pressing for the sale of defence technology.
Addressing a joint press conference along with Clinton, after they held discussions on a wide range of issues including terrorism, Krishna said, “It is a great pleasure to welcome you back in India on the second anniversary of your first visit as Secretary of State. You have been a steadfast friend of India, unwavering in your commitment to India-US strategic relationship.”
“Two years almost to this very day, we announced the strategic dialogue. The strategic dialogue is the bedrock upon which we are building our global strategic relationship… we expressed satisfaction in the momentum in our relationship. We welcome the maturity and mutual confidence in our relationship,” he added.
He also said that both sides had “good discussions” on terrorism in the region, adding that both countries have resolved to intensify their cooperation to fight terrorism. “Terror sanctuaries in Pakistan needed to be eliminated for regional peace and stability,” he added.
Krishna also said that the US has reiterated its commitment to cooperation in civil nuclear energy with India, besides cooperation in areas like food security and cyber security.
Clinton, on her part, termed the talks she held with Krishna as very constructive and that the US wholeheartedly supports the rise of India as a regional and global leader.
She said there were three areas where the two countries could deepen what Washington considers "a defining partnership of the 21st century", namely trade and investment, security cooperation and civil nuclear technology.
On the important issue of the civil nuclear deal, Clinton said that US remains fully committed to civil nuclear cooperation with India.
With regard to the new energy guidelines, Clinton said there is “nothing” about reprocessing guidelines that should be construed as going against the civil nuclear deal between the two countries.
However, she was categorical about what the US expects from India in lieu of US’ “commitment” to the nuke deal. She said, “The US looks forward to India ratifying the Convention on
Supplementary Compensation (CSC) before this year end.”
Importantly, Clinton also pushed for defence deals. She said, “We believe in increasing military-to-military cooperation between the two countries, including the sale of defence technology.”
On the issue of terrorism, especially in view of the recent blasts in Mumbai, Clinton said the US shares the pain of Mumbai victims. “We are with you in your fight, which is also our fight,” she said, adding, “Counter-terrorism cooperation is on top of our mind after
last week`s bombings in Mumbai.”
On the issue of Pakistan, Clinton said, “We cannot tolerate safe haven to terrorists anywhere; it is in the interest of Pakistan itself to act against terrorism.”
Clinton, who is accompanied by 25-member delegation including top security officials in the US administration, will travel to Chennai tomorrow.