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US, India share interests from N-security to Afghanistan: Krishna

India today said it would be an important occasion for both the countries to set their sights on "new milestones" as they share interests ranging from counterterrorism to nuclear security to Afghanistan.



Washington: On the eve of the first-ever
Indo-US Strategic Dialogue, India today said it would be an
important occasion for both the countries to set their sights
on "new milestones" as they share interests ranging from
counterterrorism to nuclear security to Afghanistan.

A high-powered Indian delegation led by External
Affairs Minister S M Krishna will hold talks on a range of
issues with the US side headed by Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton.

"We have many other shared interests - that range
from countering terrorism and extremism, advancing nuclear
security, working to secure the global commons and succeeding
in Afghanistan to dialogues for co-operation in science and
technology, research for clean energy and monsoon prediction,
health and education and even a dialogue on women`s
empowerment," Krishna said.

He was addressing at the 35th anniversary celebrations
of US India Business Council, attended by top leaders of the
American corporate world including India-born PepsiCo chief
Indra Nooyi.

"Tomorrow, with this extremely broad range of shared
interests, I will join Secretary Hillary Clinton, for the
first India-US strategic dialogue at the ministerial level.
That will be an important occasion for us to reflect on the
remarkable journey that our two great democracies have
embarked upon, and to set our sights on new milestones."
Krishna also said the country was committed to putting
in place a nuclear liability regime by getting the Nuclear
Liability Bill passed in Parliament.

"I have received some feedback on areas of particular
interest to members present here - foremost is the
implementation of the historic Civil Nuclear Agreement between
our two countries signed in 2008," he said.

"We are well within the agreed timelines, of course.
The Government is committed to put in place a nuclear
liability regime. We look forward to US companies investing in
India. Many of you are in dialogue with our companies already.
We would like it to be as robust a partnership as we have both
envisioned," he said.

The Nuclear Liability Bill, which is crucial in the
implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal, is being strongly
opposed by parties like BJP and Left. They are opposed to the
bill in the present form and had even disrupted Parliament
when it was introduced last month.

Pitching for a robust two-way trade in advanced
technology products with the US, Krishna said it has offered
guarantees that sensitive technology would not be diverted in
contravention of US regulations.

He sought strengthening of bilateral cooperation in
the field of innovation and advanced technology.

"We have given a number of written assurances that US
technology will enjoy the level of security stipulated by the
relevant US laws and not be diverted in contravention of US
regulations," Krishna said.

Other members of the Indian delegation include HRD
Minister Kapil Sibal, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission
Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Minister of State for Science and
Technology Prithviraj Chavan and Foreign Secretary Nirupama
Rao.

Setting the tone for the meeting, Under Secretary
of State for Political Affairs William Burns and Rao held a
foreign policy meeting at the State Department.

USAID Administrator, Raj Shah and Under Secretary for
Management Robert D Hormats also held the Indo-US Agriculture
Dialogue with Ahluwalia, while Sibal had his own meetings
today.

Krishna sought strengthening of
bilateral cooperation in the field of innovation and advanced
technology.

To press his point, he also cited that the End Use
Monitoring Agreement has been in place between India and many
other countries and asserted that Indian importers had a "100
per cent" compliance record when it comes to safeguarding
imported technology.

"I am absolutely confident that the emphasis, going
forward, must be on the India US partnership in high
technology cooperation and innovation that will generate
prosperity for both our peoples in the years to come," he
said.

As India seeks advanced sensitive technology imports
from the US, Krishna said: "We have been implementing the
End-Use Verification Agreement with US partners for years now
and have, last year, agreed to a Technical Safeguards
Agreement in space co-operation. We also have the End Use
Monitoring arrangement for defence acquisitions".

With this background and the trust built as "strategic
partners", he said, the two nations should be able to create
an environment for "a robust two-way trade in advanced
technology products".

Krishna said Indian importers have a 100 per cent
compliance record when it comes to safeguarding imported
technology.

He said as the Indian economy grows and the US economy
regains its momentum following a recessionary phase, the trade
and investment figures can multiply exponentially.

"We must go beyond that, make innovation the defining
principle of our cooperation, and achieve its true potential,"
he said.

He noted that Indian and American businesses have had
a proven track record of partnership in innovation, including
in the fields of civil nuclear cooperation to `Chandrayaan`
and FutureGen.

-PTI

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