India, US agree to revitalise ties, enhance cooperation in areas of defence, security, energy

NetIndian News Network

Washington, September 30, 2014

Modi, Obama discuss defence,trade, security terrorism at White House
India and the United States today agreed to revitalise their relationship and find new areas for collaboration and mutual benefit, including civil nuclear energy, space, agriculture, science and technology and education, and deepen and broaden the existing framework of partnership and friendship.
Among other things, given their broad range of shared interests, the two sides agreed to beef up their security dialogue and defence relations and India invited US defence companies to participate in the developing its defence industry.
At summit level talks between visiting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama at the White House here, the two sides recognized that the bilateral relationship enjoyed strong support in both countries, which has allowed their strategic partnership to flourish even as the governments change.
Mr Modi, who began a five-day visit to the US on September 26 and reached Washington yesterday, met Mr Obama first in the restricted format before the sides held delegation-level talks.
The two leaders had met for the first time yesterday evening when Mr Obama hosted a private dinner for Mr Modi at the White House.
"We have had an outstanding discussion around a range of issues.  And we, during our discussions, reaffirmed that as two of the world’s largest democracies, vibrant people-to-people contacts between India and the United States, including an incredible Indian American population that contributes so much, that we have so much in common it is critical for us to continue to deepen and broaden the existing framework of partnership and friendship that already exists," Mr Obama said at a joint media interaction with Mr Modi after their talks.
"It is an extraordinary pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Modi to the White House for the first time.  I think that the entire world has watched the historic election and mandate that the people of India delivered in the recent election.  And I think everyone has been impressed with the energy and the determination with which the Prime Minister has looked to address not only India’s significant challenges, but more importantly, India’s enormous opportunities for success in the 21st century," he said.
Mr Obama said that, at their private dinner last night, they had spent most of their time talking about the economy.
"And we agreed that in both countries, one of our primary goals is to improve education and job training so that our young people can compete in the global marketplace, and the Prime Minister shared with me his vision for lifting what is still too many Indians who are locked in poverty into a situation in which their lives can improve," he said.
He said that they had talked today about the international situation and security issues.  
"We addressed challenges in the Middle East and violent extremism and the fight against ISIL.  We discussed what has now been a successful peaceful transition of power in Afghanistan and the need for all of us to work together to ensure that there is stability there. 
"We discussed the issues of trade, issues of making sure that maritime rules are observed, and we discussed how we can continue to work together on a whole host of issues from space exploration, scientific endeavor, to dealing with humanitarian crises like Ebola in West Africa," he said.
"And throughout this conversation I’ve been impressed with the Prime Minister’s interest in not only addressing the needs of the poorest of the poor in India and revitalizing the economy there, but also his determination to make sure that India is serving as a major power that could help bring about peace and security for the entire world," he said.
"So I want to wish him luck in what I’m sure will be a challenging but always interesting tenure as Prime Minister in India.  I’m very grateful for the friendship between the United States and India, and I’m looking forward to building on this meeting so we can continue to promote progress in both countries and around the world," he added.
Mr Modi, who assumed office on May 26, began by saying that he was pleased to visit the United States and meet Mr Obama at the start of his tenure.
"I’m happy that we are meeting here just a few days after the Indian and the U.S. missions reached Mars around the same time.  So after the India-U.S. summit on Mars, we are meeting here on Earth," he said, to loud laughter.
"This happy coincidence captures the potential of our relationship," he said.
Mr Modi said his visit and his conversation with Mr Obama had reinforced his conviction that India and the US are natural global partners based on their shared values, Interests, and strengths in the digital age.
"We already have the foundation of a strong partnership.  We now have to revive the momentum and ensure that we get the best out of it for our people and for the world," he said.
Mr Modi said he and Mr Obama had spoken about many of their common economic strategies. "I’m confident that India will see rapid economic growth and transformation.  We are focusing in India not just on policies but also on processes to make it easy and productive to do business in India.  I believe that India-U.S. economic partnership will also grow rapidly in coming years," he said.
He said he had also seen Mr Obama's support for continued openness and ease of access by Indian service companies in the US market. He said the two sides were serious about resolution of issues on both sides to enable civilian nuclear energy cooperation to take off and stressed this was important for India's energy security.
Mr Modi said he and Mr Obama had a candid discussion on Bali ministerial of the WTO. " India supports trade facilitation.  However, I also expect that we are able to find a solution that takes care of our concern on food security.  I believe that it should be possible to do that soon," he said.
"We have agreed to consult and cooperate closely on climate change issues, an area of strong priority for both of us.  There was great convergence on international developments that matter the most to our two countries, including peace and stability in Asia Pacific region.  The United States is intrinsic to our 'Look East' and 'Link West' policies," he said.
Mr Modi said they had discussed existing terrorism challenges, including in South Asia and the new threats of terrorism in West Asia and beyond, and agreed to intensify their counterterrorism and intelligence cooperation.  "The Afghan people have shown the will to prevail over violence and extremism.  We discussed our two countries’ continued commitment to assist Afghanistan and our own coordination in this area," he said.
He said they also shared concern on the Ebola crisis in Africa, for which India has already made financial commitments of $12 million. 
"During the last four days in the U.S. I have seen extraordinary interest and excitement about India and India-U.S. partnership among the people of our two countries.  We will draw strength and inspiration from it as we start a more purposeful course in our ongoing journey.
"I look forward to receiving President Obama and his family in India at a convenient time.  I, once again, thank President Obama, the people of the United States, and especially the Indian American community for their warm welcome and hospitality.  And also I should thank the media from India and the US," he added.
The two sides later issued a joint statement, in which two leaders extolled the  broad strategic and global partnership between the two countries which, they said, would continue to generate greater prosperity and security for their citizens and the world. 
According to, Mr Modi emphasized the priority India accords to its partnership with the United States, a principal partner in the realization of India’s rise as a responsible, influential world power.
Given the shared values, people-to-people ties, and pluralistic traditions, President Obama recognized that India’s rise as a friend and partner is in the United States’ interest, the statement said.
They endorsed the first "Vision Statement for the Strategic Partnership” as a guide to strengthen and deepen cooperation in every sector for the benefit of global stability and people’s livelihoods over the next ten years. They committed to a new mantra for the relationship, "Chalein SaathSaath: Forward Together We Go.”
The two sides noted that two-way trade had increased five-fold since 2001 to nearly $ 100 billion and committed to facilitate the actions necessary to increase trade another five-fold.
In order to raise investment by institutional investors and corporate entities, the leaders pledged to establish an Indo-U.S. Investment Initiative led by India's Ministry of Finance and the US Department of Treasury, with special focus on capital market development and financing of infrastructure. They pledged to establish an Infrastructure Collaboration Platform convened by the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Commerce to enhance participation of US companies in infrastructure projects in India.
The US agreed to be the lead partner in developing smart cities in Ajmer (Rajasthan), Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh).
Among other things, the two sides agreed to work together in advancing Mr Modi's goals of improved access to clean water and sanitation for all in India as well as for financial inclusion and skill development.
Reaffirming their commitment to implement fully the US-India civil nuclear cooperation agreement, the two leaders established a Contact Group in this regard and to realize early their shared goal of delivering electricity from US-built nuclear power plants in India.
"They looked forward to advancing the dialogue to discuss all implementation issues, including but not limited to administrative issues, liability,technical issues, and licensing to facilitate the establishment of nuclear parks, including power plants with Westinghouse and GE-Hitachi technology," the statement said.
Mr Obama and Mr Modi agreed to a new and enhanced strategic partnership on energy security, clean energy, and climate change. They agreed to strengthen and expand the highly successful US-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) through a series of priority initiatives.
The two leaders agreed to expand defence cooperation to bolster national, regional, and global security. 
"The two leaders reaffirmed that India and the United States would build an enduring partnership in which both sides treat each other at the same level as their closest partners, including defense technology transfers, trade, research, co-production, and co-development," the statement said.
They decided to renew for ten more years the 2005 Framework for the US-India Defence Relationship and directed their defence teams to develop plans for more ambitious programs and activities. The two leaders also agreed to reinvigorate the Political-Military Dialogue and expand its role to serve as a wider dialogue on export licensing, defense cooperation and strategic cooperation.
"The leaders reaffirmed their deep concern over the continued threat posed by terrorism, most recently highlighted by the dangers presented by the ISIL, and underlined the need for continued comprehensive global efforts to combat and defeat terrorism.The leaders stressed the need for joint and concerted efforts, including the dismantling of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks, to disrupt all financial and tactical support for networks such as Al Qaeda,Lashkar-e Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-Company, and the Haqqanis. They reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice," the statement said.
They pledged to enhance criminal law enforcement, security, and military information exchanges, and strengthen cooperation on extradition and mutual legal assistance. Through operational cooperation through their law enforcement agencies, they aimed to prevent the spread of counterfeit currency and inhibit the use of cyberspace by terrorists, criminals, and those who use the internet for unlawful purposes, and to facilitate investigation of criminal and terrorist activities. The leaders also committed to identify modalities to exchange terrorist watch lists. President Obama pledged to help India counter the threat of improvised explosive devices with information and technology. The leaders committed to pursue provision of US-made mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles to India. 
The leaders committed to partner on the Digital India initiative, with the goal of enhancing digital infrastructure, deploying e-governance and e-services, promoting industry collaboration, and digitally empowering India’s citizens.The President welcomed India's proposal to establish the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN, or Knowledge) under which India would invite and host upto 1,000 American academics each year to teach in centrally-recognized Indian Universities, at their convenience.
Mr Modi and Mr Obama exchanged congratulations on the successful entry into orbit of their respective Mars missions, which occurred two days apart earlier this month. They welcomed the establishment and planned first meeting of the NASA-ISRO Mars Joint Working Group under the US-India Civil Space Joint Working Group. They also looked forward to the successful conclusion of a new agreement to support the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, to be launched in 2021.
As a critical step in strengthening global non-proliferation and export control regimes, the President and Prime Minister committed to continue work towards India’s phased entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group. The President affirmed that India meets MTCR requirements and is ready for membership in the NSG. He supported India’s early application and eventual membership in all four regimes.
As active participants in the Nuclear Security Summit process, the United States and India welcomed progress toward reducing the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons or related materials, and noted their shared commitment to improving nuclear security nationally and globally. 

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