India, US review progress on Strategic Dialogue
Washington, March 17, 2010
India and the United States reviewed the progress on various pillars of their Strategic Dialogue agenda at talks between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her counterpart, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, here on Tuesday.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dropped in on the meeting and joined the discussions, a statement from the Indian Embassy here said.
The agenda of the Strategic Dialogue, instituted in July 2009 during Ms Clinton's visit to India, includes cooperation in defence, nuclear energy, counter-terrorism, agriculture, education, energy, space and cyber-security, among other areas.
Ms Rao, who was on a visit to the US, also met National Security Adviser General James Jones, Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Robert Hormats and Under Secretary of Demcracy Global Affairs Maria Otero.
She also met Congressman Gary Ackerman and Senator Joseph Lieberman, the statement said.
On Monday, Ms Rao had met Under Secretary for Policy in the Department of Dfence Michelle Flournoy.
The statement said the bilateral meetings of Ms Rao with her US interlocutors also focused on regional issues, including India's neighbourhood.
She briefed the US side about her talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir last month. They also exchanged views on recent developments related to Afghanistan.
According to the statement, Ms Rao stressed that Afghanistan presented the foremost security related challenge in the region. She reiterated India’s long held position that it was important for the international community to stay the present course in Afghanistan for as long as it is necessary. The US interlocutors conveyed their appreciation of the important developmental work being done by India in Afghanistan.
During her visit, Ms Rao co-chaired the 7th meeting of the India-US High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG). This was the first meeting of the HTCG, a component of the India-US Strategic Dialogue, with the new US Administration.
During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington in November 2009, he and US President Barack Obama had "agreed that strengthening high technology trade between their countries is in the spirit of their strategic dialogue and partnership. They reiterated their shared commitment to technology security and that it is in their mutual interest to invigorate this area of their partnership".
During the two days of deliberations – between the industry representatives of both countries followed by the Government-level meetings to consider the recommendations of the industry - on promotion of high technology trade between India and the USA , the two sides were able to consolidate the progress made in the last five years and identified the next steps for further expanding high technology trade between India and the US - especially in the areas of Defence and Strategic Trade, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology.
They also agreed to create new groups for focused attention on cooperation in Health IT and Civil Aviation, the statement said.
The Indian side requested the US Department of Commerce to review US Export Controls applicable to India and update them to bring them in keeping with the changed political realities that contextualize the India-US strategic partnership today.
During her visit, Ms Rao also delivered an address on "Two Democracies - Defining the Essence of India-US PLartnership" at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars.
On Tuesday morning, she had a separate breakfast meeting to interact with experts from prominent Washington think-tanks.
(Photos: Courtesy website of the Embassy of India, Washington)