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Burns stresses on Indo-US ties
Published on 15 Oct. 2009 10:29 PM IST
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Visiting American diplomat William Burns, who is on a two-day trip to India in preparation for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s journey to the US, said Thursday that relations between India and US were key drivers for prosperity and stability in this century. “I remain very optimistic about the prospects of further progress in relations between our two countries in the months and years ahead and I remain convinced that US-Indian partnership is one of the real keys to the global order and global prosperity in the 21st century,” Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, told reporters. He was speaking after having an “excellent meeting” with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna at his office in South Block. Burns, who arrived here Wednesday night, met Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal Thursday morning, and later held discussions with Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Planning Commission’s Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. He will also meet National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan Friday. Burns said that the “main purpose” of his visit was to prepare for the prime minister’s November trip to United States, which will be the first state visit during President Barack Obama’s administration. “That (the state visit) reflected the very high priority that President Obama and Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton and the entire administration attach to our relations to India,” he said. The US diplomat said he had a “rich agenda” to discuss with Indian government officials “on a wide range of regional and global issues, ranging from health to education to civil nuclear cooperation to defence to clean energy and climate change”. Burns was finalising major bilateral initiatives which will be announced during the state visit. One of them is likely to be in education, with the US delegation led by Burns conveying that many American universities were keen to know about India’s road map for the education sector. “The areas of collaboration that the two sides are looking at include research, distant education, vocational education, skill development, exchange of faculty, models of public private partnership and also expertise for the setting up of universities,” a human resource ministry official said. Sibal is also touring the US later this month. During his visit, Sibal is expected to meet policy makers, including senators and congressmen, and government officials besides holding meetings with representatives of American universities. “The framework of the proposed India-US Education Council is to be crystallized in this visit,” the ministry official added.

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