Friday, October 1, 2010

India, US to Establish Framework for Strategic Ties

India and the United States are looking at establishing a long-term framework of strategic partnership when President Barack Obama visits next month, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon has said. "The visit offers us an opportunity to put into place a longer term framework for India-US strategic partnership, and to add content to that partnership in several areas that are now ripe," Menon said at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – a Washington-based think-tank.

Menon left Washington yesterday after holding intense consultations with top US officials on issues related to the visit of President Obama to India in November. Among others, he met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and his American counterpart Gen (rtd) James Jones.

"Our goal must be to gear our bilateral cooperation towards making our two countries stronger, safer and more prosperous," Menon said, giving the first official indication of the things to be expected during the Obama visit to India in November. "India and the US stand at an important moment in our partnership.

As a result of consistent efforts by successive governments and administrations in both countries, our bilateral strategic partnership is strong. The time has come to realize its international significance. President Obama's visit gives us an opportunity to do so," Menon said. "One final word to those in our countries who still ask: 'Is India a responsible power?' or 'Is the US a trustworthy partner?' My answer is an emphatic -- yes. But the corollary is that we must be sensitive to each other's vital and important national interests.

And we must strengthen the habit of working together, intensifying strategic consultations," he said. Menon said "this partnership was based on more than immediate transactional advantage. I do not underestimate the human capacity for folly. But, with common values and a vision of a better world order and shared interests, I am confident that if we each proceed from our own ideals and interests, we will impart long term stability and an enduring significance to our partnership."

A major area for initiatives is the economy and trade, he noted, adding India today offers a growing market and a partner in improving the international competitiveness of US companies, creating jobs in both countries. "I would hope that the visit will result in several concrete initiatives in this area," he said.

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