Thursday, July 31, 2014

PM meets Sushma, Jaitley over US talks

The Asian Age - July 30, 2014

Kerry praises Modi on eve of Delhi dialogue

Eager to ink a fresh chapter in bilateral ties, particularly with a new government in power here, US secretary of state John Kerry has said the two nations can and should be “indispensable partners for the 21st century”.

Addressing the Centre for American Progress, a leading think tank, in Washington D. C. ahead of his arrival in New Delhi on Wednesday to participate in the fifth India- US strategic dialogue, Mr Kerry also reached out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with laudatory references to his concept of “Sabka saath, sabka vikas”. The entire speech was peppered with references to Mr Modi and warm praise of the new PM.

“It’s a concept and vision we want to support,” said Mr Kerry, who will cochair the dialogue starting Thursday with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

“We believe it’s a great vision and our private sector is eager to be a catalyst in India’s economic revitalisation,” Mr Kerry added, detailing the United States vision of future bilateral ties as well as Washington’s expectations from New Delhi in various areas.

Modi’s vision of ‘ Sabka saath, sabka vikas’ is a concept we back, says US leader

Ahead of Mr Kerry’s visit, Prime Minister Modi held a meeting with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and finance minister Arun Jaitley to discuss the various issues expected to figure in the strategic dialogue. Mr Modi’s planned late September visit to the United States also came up for discussion. While in New Delhi, Mr Kerry is expected to call on the Prime Minister and discuss the issues that may come up at his meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House.

The US is hoping not just to repair frayed ties, but also start afresh with the Modi government. Trade and nuclear issues are expected to figure prominently in the dialogue. This was evident from Mr Kerry’s Washington speech.

He also said among America’s “key relationships” was the “deepening relationship with India”, more so because of “strategic imperatives”.

That the Obama administration is looking to engage more deeply and intensively with the Modi government was also indicated in Mr Kerry’s remarks on a “new government, with a new set of opportunities and possibilities”.

He added: “This is a potentially transformative moment in our partnership with India and we’re determined to deliver on the strategic and historic opportunities that we can create together.” US secretary of state John Kerry’s speech in Washington set the tone for the strategic dialogue that comes a few months after bilateral ties soured over the Devyani Khobragade episode. Even prior to this, ties between the two countries under UPA- 2 was often seen as having reached a plateau. The Modi reference came in when Mr Kerry spoke about expanding the two countries educational ties.

Hailing Mr Modi’s invite to Saarc leaders to attend his swearing- in, Mr Kerry remarked, “He is eager for India to play a leading role... so are we”.

He also assured that the US will do everything to encourage India and Pakistan to work together and improve the prospects for peace and stability in the region.

Mr Kerry also used his speech to nudge India into looking at US companies nuclear business while stating that the two countries “need to build on the US India civil nuclear deal so that American companies can start providing clean power to millions in India.”

Making a strong pitch for US businesses in other areas, Mr Kerry said if the Indian government delivered on its plans to support greater support for private initiative, more opportunities for capital inflows, limits subsidies and provides strong intellectual property rights, more US companies would come to India.

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