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Suo motu statement by EAM in Parliament on PM´s visit to USA

New Delhi
December 3, 2009

I rise to inform the House of the visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to the USA from November 22 to 26, 2009. I would like to share with this House the main outcomes of the visit. 

As Hon’ble Members are aware, the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States marked the first bilateral Summit between India and the United States after the elections in America last November and our Parliamentary elections this year. It was also the first State visit to the United States by a foreign leader under the new Administration. 

An important objective of the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s visit was to reaffirm the importance that India attaches to its relations with the United States, and to share our perspectives and concerns on key issues with the new US Administration. 

President Obama conveyed to our Prime Minister that strengthening relations with India was one of the highest priorities for his Administration. Prime Minister conveyed to the President that the rapid socio-economic transformation underway in India holds several opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries in all areas. India is in a position to contribute to global economic recovery, combat poverty and underdevelopment, and provide stability to a region plagued by terrorism and violent extremism. 

Hon’ble Prime Minister and the US President reviewed all aspects of the India-US bilateral relationship. During their meeting, the US Secretary of State, Ms. Hillary Clinton and I updated them on the progress of the Strategic Dialogue that we had announced earlier this year on July 20, 2009. 

The Joint Statement titled “India and the United States : Partnership for a Better World” issued after the talks outlines the main focus of the discussions. Trade and investment, clean and efficient energy, science and technology, space, high technology, education, health agriculture and counter-terrorism have been identified as areas of special focus for our future cooperation. 

Both India and the United States reiterated their intention to realize the full potential of the Agreement on Civil Nuclear Co-operation signed on October 10, 2008 through the speedy implementation of its provisions. We also agreed that it was particularly important to invigorate and strengthen high technology trade between our countries. 

The two sides agree to create conditions to facilitate the expansion of their economies. In this context, the opportunities for US participation in the infrastructure, information and communication technology, healthcare services, education services, energy and environmentally friendly technologies sectors in India were highlighted. They agreed to launch the US-India Financial and Economic Partnership to strengthen engagement on economic, financial and investment related issues. 

Both sides agreed to facilitate greater movement of professionals, investors and business travelers, students, and exchange visitors between our two countries. We announced our intention to develop a Framework for Cooperation on Trade and Investment that would foster an environment conducive to technological innovation and collaboration, promote inclusive growth and job creation, and support opportunities for increased trade and investment - including for small and medium-sized enterprises. 

The two leaders agreed to pursue their fruitful collaboration in research and science and technology. They launched a Knowledge Initiative with a total funding of USD 10 million that will be allocated to increasing university linkages and junior faculty development exchanges between U.S. and Indian universities, including greater emphasis on community colleges. The Fulbright-Nehru program will be expanded to provide more student and scholar exchange grants. They agreed to cooperate in the area of women’s empowerment. 

Prime Minister and President Obama agreed to advance public health and biomedical research collaborations between the United States and India. A Memorandum of Intent has been signed on the establishing of a Regional Global Disease Detection Center in India in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This would facilitate co-operation between our doctors and scientists in discovering new and affordable technologies and treatments. 

Through the India-US Bi-national Science and Technology Commission and the Endowment, it was agreed to give fresh impetus to collaboration in the cutting edge areas of scientific research, technology and development. 

Prime Minister and President Obama agreed to increase India-U.S. agricultural cooperation through a memorandum of understanding on agricultural cooperation and food security with the purpose of promoting agricultural research, human resources capacity building, natural resource management, agri-business and food processing, and collaborative research for increasing food productivity. An important element of this co-operation is the joint development of technology that would improve weather forecasting, including predicting monsoons, and contribute to food productivity and food security efforts in our country. It was also decided that both countries would collaborate in the application of our space technology and related scientific capabilities in outer space and also for development purposes- including in the field of agriculture. 

A Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) Access Agreement between the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research and US Patent and Trademark Office was signed. This will help prevent misappropriation of traditional knowledge through mistaken issuance of patents as had earlier happened with neem and haldi. 

An MoU to facilitate comprehensive bilateral cooperation on a range of IPR issues focusing on capacity building, human resource development and raising public awareness of the importance of IPR was also signed. 

Prime Minister and President Obama discussed issues related to our region which are of immediate concern to both our Governments – particularly the threat of terrorism emanating from our immediate neighbourhood. 

They reiterated the interest of India and the USA in the stability, development and independence of Afghanistan and in the defeat of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan and Afghanistan. President Obama conveyed that India’s role in the reconstruction and rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan was very much appreciated by the US Administration as well as the US Congress. Both leaders were united in their commitment to continue - and enhance - the efforts of India and the USA to help the Afghan people in their development. 

Prime Minister’s visit to the USA coincided with the eve of the first anniversary of the Mumbai attacks. Naturally, this subject was a priority in Prime Minister’s discussions with President Obama. In their discussions, Prime Minister and President Obama underscored the absolute imperative to bring to justice the perpetrators of this terrorist attack and the need for resolute and credible steps to be taken to eliminate safe havens and sanctuaries that provide shelter to terrorists and their activities. They decided on a Counter-terrorism Cooperation Initiative to expand collaboration on counter-terrorism, information sharing, and capacity building. 

India and the United States also agreed to continue pursuing mutually beneficial defense cooperation. 

The two leaders reaffirmed their shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and agreed to work together, as leaders of responsible states with advanced nuclear technology, for global non-proliferation, and universal, non-discriminatory and complete nuclear disarmament. They also agreed to consult regularly and seek the early start of negotiations on a multilateral, non-discriminatory and internationally verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty at the Conference on Disarmament. They discussed the important issue of nuclear security and the dangers posed by nuclear terrorism and clandestine networks. 

Sustainable development and clean and efficient usage of energy being an important modern day challenge, it was agreed to enter into a Green Partnership to address the challenges of food security, clean energy and energy security. Prime Minister and President Obama announced the launch of a Clean Energy and Climate Change Initiative. The Initiative includes cooperation in wind and solar energy, second generation bio-fuels, unconventional gas, energy efficiency, and clean coal technologies including carbon capture and storage. Prime Minister and President Obama agreed on the need for a substantive and comprehensive outcome at the meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in Copenhagen, which would cover mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology. 

The two leaders committed themselves to strengthen and reform the global economic and financial architecture in the G-20, World Bank and the IMF. 

They further committed themselves to achieving genuine reform of the United Nations including in its Security Council in a manner that reflects the contemporary realities of the 21st century. Their discussions covered the need to have an open and inclusive architecture for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. 

The two sides were unanimous that the 2.7 million strong Indian-American community are a powerful factor in strengthening India-US relations in all areas. 

The Hon’ble Prime Minister’s visit has laid the foundation for further enhancing our relations with the United States across a broad spectrum of activities. 

Prime Minister has invited President Obama to visit India, an invitation which the US President has accepted. We look forward to receiving President Obama in India in the near future, where a warm welcome awaits him.