‘No huge deliverables during Manmohan visit’

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 15:54

New Delhi: India should not expect "huge deliverables" during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to the US in November but should look to strengthening the "multifaceted partnership" between the two countries, a top American official said Tuesday.

"I don`t see huge deliverables," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Robert Scher said about the Nov 24-26 visit while pointing to the "incredibly strong multi-faceted partnership" between the two countries.

"We share common approaches. We might not be comfortable in some areas but at least we can talk," Scher, who is on his second visit to India after assuming office in January, said at a select media briefing here.

The reference was to two contentious agreements the US wants India to sign but which New Delhi is resisting.

The first of these, Communications Information Security Memorandum of Agreement, CISMOA in technical jargon, will enable the two militaries to communicate on a common frequency.

The other, the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), will enable the two militaries to provide logistical help to each other in cashless transactions that are balanced at the end of the year.

India and the US had, however, struck a deal on the End User Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) during the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this year. This was despite the fact that the Indian armed forces found it restrictive as it would give US inspectors access to hardware purchased from America.

Scher will be back here in November for a meeting of the India-US Defence Policy Group ahead of Manmohan Singh`s Washington visit, the first by a foreign head of state or government after President Barack Obama assumed office in January.

However, it is highly unlikely that the two countries will agree to the text of the CISMOA and LSA before the prime minister`s visit.

The differences apart, Scher emphasised that the two countries can "work together" and "have the ability to talk to each other".

He also admitted that while the India-US "strategic pillar" was firmly in place, "the other pillars are not so developed".

"The security and defence pillar is in place. We are now looking across the board (to put the other pillars in place," Scher said, without elaborating.

IANS



First Published: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 15:54

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