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External Affairs Minister's Press Statement at the Joint Press Conference with U.S. Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Clinton

New Delhi
May 8, 2012

Madam Secretary,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you back to Delhi. I am glad that you decided to visit India on your way back to Washington DC. This is a sign of our close friendship.

It also underscores the importance of regular consultations between our two governments at a time of enormous challenges and far-reaching changes taking place in the world.

Secretary Clinton and I reviewed the entire gamut of our bilateral relations. We expressed satisfaction with the progress in our relationship and are optimistic about the future. The emerging global trends only reinforce our shared conviction in the importance of this relationship for the future of our two countries and the shape of the world in this century.

We have an extraordinary frequency and depth in our dialogue and engagement. We continue to make tangible progress across virtually every area of bilateral cooperation. We expressed hope that our economic relationship, which is very important to both countries, would grow much faster and realise its enormous potential.

There are issues on both sides. I did convey our concerns about the continuing difficulties on mobility of professionals, especially for our IT companies, and protectionist sentiments in the U.S. with regard to global supply chain in services industry. I want to thank Secretary Clinton for her personal attention to the welfare of Indians and Indian students in the U.S.

Secretary Clinton and I also had good discussion on the path to fostering commercial cooperation in civil nuclear energy. I assured her of India’s commitment to provide a level playing field to all U.S. companies, within the framework of national law and our international legal obligations. We were pleased that US companies are engaged in substantive discussions with the Indian operator, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited. We hope that they will make early progress towards contractual steps.

Our strategic consultations have a global character, with convergence of views on a range of global and regional issues.

We discussed our vision for Afghanistan. We stressed the need for sustained international commitment to build Afghan capacity for governance, security and economic development, and to support Afghanistan with assistance, investment and regional linkages. Recent attacks in Kabul highlight once again the need for elimination of terrorist sanctuaries in the neighbourhood and the need for stronger action from Pakistan on terrorism, including on bringing to justice the perpetrators of Mumbai terrorist attack. We also discussed our respective relations with Pakistan.

I conveyed our vital stakes in peace and stability in the Gulf and wider West Asian region, given the six million Indians who live there and the region’s importance to our economy.

We also discussed the importance of peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations, based on the position that Iran has rights as a member of NPT, but it must also abide by its obligations as a non-nuclear weapons state under the NPT.

Secretary Clinton and I had a fruitful discussion on the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region, including relations with China, and developments in countries in India’s immediate neighbourhood. We exchanged views on our recent interaction with our Bangladeshi counterpart also.

Finally, we look forward to a productive Strategic Dialogue in June in Washington DC, not only to show case the extraordinary progress in our engagement, but also outline how we intend to take our strategic partnership to a new level.