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Will build trust between India and US: Clinton

Chennai, Jul 20 (Agencies/ IANS)
Published on 20 Jul. 2011 11:55 PM IST
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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that the United States has watched with great admiration the progress made by India and that the history of 21st century will be written in India and Asia.
Addressing students at the Anna Centenary Library, Hillary said, “President Obama made a state visit last year, and I made two visits in the last two years, why one may ask? It is because we understand that much of the history of 21st century will be written in Asia. We have great commitment… as President told the Indian Parliament that the relationship between India and US will be a defining relationship.”
“We will build trust and do more to bring us together. We are betting on India’s future… we have watched the progress of India with great admiration,” she said, adding that the US hopes India’s vibrant pluralist democracy will bring measurable changes.
“It is true we are different countries with different backgrounds. We will from time to time disagree. But we believe our differences are far outweighed by the bondage,” she said.
Beginning her speech with the Tamil word ‘Vanakkam’ (namaste) amid applause from the gathering, she said the US was watching the progress of India with “great admiration” as the country maintained the democratic foundations and worked for improving the lives of the poor.
Hillary also lauded India’s Election Commission saying that it is considered as the gold standard on elections globally.
“There are those who raise question about the relationship between our two countries. I understand that we are countries of different history and there will be differences, as between two friends... (however) our differences are outweighed by the bonds,” she added.
Interaction with the students, the US Secretary of State also announced a new student exchange initiative.
On the issue of terrorism, Hillary reiterated that both countries need to work together to combat the menace, while pressing for stronger US-India-China ties.
“We have a common commitment to combating terrorism and achieving economic prosperity,” she said.
Lauding India’s firm commitment to democracy, Hillary said Indian leadership should continue to engage the Myanmarese government, whose treatment of its own people was deplorable, to secure the release of all political prisoners.
Touching upon the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue, she said every citizen of the island nation deserved equal help and opportunity.
The two countries should work together to combat piracy and for maritime security, she said.
Speaking about India’s growing leadership in the world, Hillary said India and the US could more productively engage in complex global issues and support democratic transitions in Middle East and North Africa.
Hillary also advocated more economic cooperation among India, US and China, though she maintained it was “not easy”.
Hillary Clinton is the first serving US Secretary of State to visit Chennai, which has American investments from automobile companies like Ford Motor Company, Caterpillar and others.
She is also expected to meet Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, though only briefly. After that, Clinton will visit Kalakshetra Foundation cultural center.
Yesterday, Hillary and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna held the strategic dialogue and discussed key bilateral, regional and international issues, including anti-terror cooperation.
The Secretary of State’s visit comes less than a week after three blasts rocked Mumbai, killing 20 people and injuring nearly 130.
Clinton pushes India to promote democracy in Myanmar
Against the backdrop of China’s increased assertiveness in East Asia, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday pitched for a bigger role for India and reminded New Delhi of “its duty” to speak out against rights violations in Myanmar.
Reiterating President Barack Obama’s backing for India’s inclusion in a reformed Security Council, Clinton underlined that India was poised to play an important role in solving problems like piracy in East Asia.
Clinton, visiting Chennai after wrapping up the second strategic dialogue in New Delhi Tuesday, said India and the US can collaborate with other countries in the region to promote maritime security and jointly combat piracy.
However, echoing Obama’s exhortation to India during his visit here in November last year, Clinton asked New Delhi to use its leverage to push for democracy in Myanmar.
“As India takes on a larger role in the Asia-Pacific region, India has a duty to speak out against human rights abuses in Myanmar,” said Clinton.
She added that the US understood India’s economic and strategic interests in developing ties with Myanmar but exhorted New Delhi to engage “the Burmese government” to push democracy and help release political prisoners there.

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