`US should push for strategic ties with India`

It is "high time" for the Obama Administration to push for an important strategic partnership with India, an American think tank said.

Washington: It is "high time" for the Obama Administration to push for an important strategic partnership with India, a leading American think tank said.

"This week’s Indo-US Strategic Dialogue provides a pringboard for further actions that strengthen bilateral ties," said Patrick Christy, policy analyst of Foreign Policy Analyst, a Washington-based think tank, said after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Indian counterpart S M Krishna concluded the second India-US Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi.

"No doubt, Washington and New Delhi will face tests from time to time, but that is the nature of special relationships internationally. In the long term, however, the fundamentals remain strong, he said, adding that both nations are bound together by increasingly shared values.

Both the countries stand to reap "great benefits" from further cooperation and it is therefore "high time for the Obama administration to push this important strategic partnership forward," Christy said.

Clinton`s two-day visit, he said, gives the US and India an important opportunity not only to enhance counterterrorism ties, but also to begin the renewal and reinvigoration of their partnership on a wide range of strategic issues.

In the aftermath of the recent Mumbai bombings, US`s message to India has not changed, he said, adding that Obama offered full cooperation and support to "bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice."

Accompanied by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and others, Clinton "rightly noted" in New Delhi that this week’s meeting should further build upon collaborative efforts to improve India’s national and homeland security.

"Indeed, Indo-US counterterrorism cooperation has shown itself to be a robust area for continuing bilateral engagement," Christy noted.

The policy analyst said counterterrorism cooperation is not the only one area in which Indo-US ties has thickened.

Despite temporary setbacks and momentary disappointments, the US-Indian strategic partnership remains strong, he said, adding that bilateral trade and investments are growing in wide-ranging sectors like biotechnology, energy and

"India recently signed its biggest defense deal with the United States so far?a USD 4.1 billion contract to procure ten C-17 airlift aircrafts. And internationally, both countries are continuing to work on a multitude of security issues including Afghanistan, China, and Iran," he added.