New Delhi: Signalling continuity in the country’s foreign policy stance, the US has accorded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the honour of being the first state guest of the Obama White House and inked fresh agreements that would take the bilateral relationship between the two countries to the next level.
Singh has been invited to visit the US on 24 November.
Better relations: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in New Delhi on Monday. Clinton invited Singh to the US in what would be the first state visit for the Obama government. Vijay Kumar Joshi / PTI
In her first visit to India, secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, reaffirmed the new Democratic administration’s commitment to “broaden and deepen” the relationship that had been established under the Republican leadership of George Bush.
Clinton signed three important agreements with foreign minister S.M. Krishna, including an “End Use Monitoring Agreement” on nuclear power, which would lead to greater defence cooperation between the two countries. This agreement is a significant step towards the sale of sophisticated US arms to India.
The other two agreements pertained to the science and technology endowment fund and cooperation for space technology. Clinton said Singh had also told her India had identified the sites for two nuclear plants the US would build.
She also expressed hope that New Delhi would soon move towards completing the process of enacting the nuclear liability law, enabling US companies to conduct nuclear business with India.
Krishna and Clinton also re-affirmed their “unequivocal commitment” to resist the threat of terrorism and violent extremism to the two democracies.
Clinton, who has never minced words in expressing her affinity for India, said she would make it a “personal priority” to extend this partnership between India and the US.
Meanwhile, Singh on Monday conveyed to Clinton the concerns in India over growing protectionism in the US. Clinton insisted that the US did not have protectionist policies, PTI reported.
During the meeting between Singh and Clinton, which was followed by lunch hosted by the Prime Minister in honour of the visiting dignitary, the two sides reviewed the bilateral relations that spans across a wide range of sectors. Clinton said the US wanted India to play an active role in regional and global forums.
Earlier in the day, Clinton said Washington will not dictate terms in the matter of deadline for reducing carbon emissions and that the two countries can find a “creative solution” to bridge their “differences”.
Union minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh on Sunday had clarified that New Delhi would not accept legally binding commitments to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.
Describing discussions with India on climate change as “fruitful”, Clinton said, “...we understand the differences each of our countries face in trying to deal with climate change. So now let us see if we can find some creative solution.”
No progress can be made unless “we have that very open dialogue”, she said while addressing students of Delhi university on Monday.
Meanwhile, leader of Opposition L.K. Advani of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday told the US secretary of state that the Indo-Pak joint statement had disrupted the national consensus among political parties on the issue.
Reuters and PTI contributed to this story.