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India-US ties; Phase III Monday
New Delhi/Gurgaon, Jul 19 (IANS):
Published on 20 Jul. 2009 12:47 AM IST
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Promising to take India-US ties to a third phase during her talks with Indian leaders Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Sunday called for more cooperation in areas ranging from climate change and agriculture to counter-terrorism. Reinforcing her message to Pakistan to act firmly to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks to justice, Clinton asked Islamabad to ensure that the Mumbai attackers face their “hour of reckoning” while she also noted Islamabad’s “evolving commitment” to fight terrorism. Warning of the threat posed by a global terrorist syndicate comprising Al Qaeda, the Taliban and assorted militant outfits in Pakistan, she underlined the growing coordination between democracies like India and the US to share information to combat terrorism. “We are increasingly coordinating with our counterparts in India about sharing information in a way that each gets sufficient information,” Clinton said. Her tough message to Pakistan is sure to warm her Indian hosts when she meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Monday. The talks will focus on forging “a comprehensive six-pillared strategic dialogue” that will mark what she has called ‘version 3.0’ of the India-US relationship. Besides civil nuclear cooperation, the two sides are expected to discuss economic and defence ties and invigorating cooperation in fields of clean energy, agriculture, science and education. The Mumbai attacks and their aftermath, the situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan (‘AfPak’) region and India’s likely role in it will also figure in the discussions. A slew of accords, including an end-use monitoring agreement that will spur high-end arms sales between them and another one on civilian space launches, is expected to be signed Monday after talks. India is also likely to announce two sites for US nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, the first concrete step to implement the civilian nuclear deal between the two countries. Dressed in a turquoise-blue business suit, Clinton arrived in the Indian capital from Mumbai in her special aircraft amid tight security and headed straight to the ITC Green Centre in Gurgaon, a satellite town adjoining Delhi where she addressed a conference on climate change. Lauding the ITC hotel chain’s eco-friendly Green Centre as “a monument to the future” comparable to landmarks like the Taj Mahal, Clinton underlined that India and the US, despite differences in perception, must work together on the pressing issue of climate change. Addressing New Delhi’s core concern about the impact of binding greenhouse emissions on economies of developing countries, Clinton made a strong pitch for low-carbon economy and assured that Washington will “not do anything that will limit India’s economic progress”. “The US does not and will not do anything that will limit India’s economic progress. We believe that economic progress in India is in everyone’s interest and not just in the interest of Indians,” Clinton said at the conference on climate change. US special envoy on climate change Todd Stern, a close aide of Clinton, also reinforced the point. Clinton said: “Addressing climate change and achieving economic growth in our view are compatible.” “The US and India can devise a plan that will dramatically change the way we produce, consume and conserve energy.” Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran also participated in the conference. Ramesh assured Clinton of India’s commitment to combat global warming and cooperation for a successful outcome of the Copenhagen summit in December, which is organised to find a successor to the Kyoto protocol that expires in 2012. He, however, reiterated India’s resistance to take on legally binding emissions. “We are not simply in a position to take on legally binding emissions,” Ramesh said. Clinton will try to narrow a wide gap with India on this issue when she meets Krishna Monday. She then headed to the National Science Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in Delhi where she spoke about “new areas of cooperation” in agriculture between the two countries. Setting the tone for the talks Monday, Clinton dispelled doubts in India about Obama administration’s commitment to strengthening India-US ties that were revolutionised by the landmark nuclear deal during the George W. Bush administration. “I want everyone to know that the Obama administration is committed to broadening and deepening relations with India in every way,” Clinton told NDTV in an interview.

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