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Opening remarks by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna at the Plenary Session of India-US Strategic Dialogue

Washington DC

Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton,
Distinguished members of the United States’ delegation

It is a great pleasure for me to join you in chairing the third India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue. I want to thank you for hosting the dialogue and for your warmth and hospitality.

We also sincerely appreciate the efforts that your team and our Embassy here have put into making this, literally, an India-United States fortnight in Washington, with all the other bilateral meetings scheduled in the past two week! It speaks to the depth of our relationship and the diversity of our engagement.

Madam Secretary,

I am particularly honoured to be joined by my distinguished Ministerial colleagues –Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Mr. Montek Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Mrs. Krishna Tirath, Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Mr. Ashwini Kumar, Minister of State for Planning, S&T and Earth Sciences, and, Mr. Sam Pitroda, Public Information Infrastructure and Innovation Adviser to Prime Minister. I am pleased to be joined by several of our most senior officers in the Government.

Even by the high standards of India-U.S. relationship, we have had an unprecedented intensity of engagement over the past year. Yet, the Strategic Dialogue is a unique opportunity to bring together all the threads of our cooperation that constitute the extraordinarily rich tapestry of our relationship.

Madam Secretary,

Our two sides have a shared vision that our global strategic partnership could be one of the most important or defining relationships of the 21st century.

In July 2009 in Delhi, we started a new chapter in an already exciting story of India-U.S. ties. Our bilateral engagement as well as global developments over the past three years has only strengthened our mutual commitment to the partnership.

In every field – political, strategic, security, defence, intelligence, nuclear cooperation, space, trade and investment, energy, science and technology, higher education and empowerment – we are making tangible and continuous progress.

What was once novel and unprecedented in our relationship is now routine and normal. In the process of our engagement, we have built something more precious – friendship, goodwill, trust, mutual confidence, candour and belief in the importance of a successful partnership.

Sometimes there are questions and doubts about the relationship. They are inevitable in something so unique and new. But, I believe that having settled the question of whether India and the U.S. can or should work towards a close relationship, the questions we ask now are how to harness the full potential of that relationship.

If we go by the investments that the two governments are making, and the energy and enterprise of our people, we are on the right track. But, as I say, we have reasons to be satisfied, but not complacent. So, we hope in the course of today, we will chart the course ahead, both for the immediate future and the long term.

Thank you.