Washington:Terming the Indo-US civil nuclear deal as the “most outstanding symbol” of the “India’s new standing” in the world, Indian ambassador to the America Ronen Sen has said that civil nuclear cooperation with New Delhi was an issue on which there was “complete agreement” among Russia, European and other countries.
“The India-US civil nuclear initiative, which has attracted a lot of media attention, is the most outstanding symbol of the new relationship between the two countries as well as of Indias new standing in the world”, Sen said.
“There are few issues on which there is complete agreement between the United States, Russia, European and other countries. Civil nuclear cooperation with India is one such issue”, he said while speaking at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors and the Council of the Woodrow Wilson Centre.
Stressing that India and US “will not be allies, in the traditional military sense”, Sen favoured the two countries to be called “strategic partners”.
“We can reconcile our ideals and interests and do not have to sacrifice principles at the altar of expediency. As democracies, we have had, and will continue to have, differences on some issues”, the Indian ambassador said.
“We are both founding members of the Community of Democracies. India is adjacent to the worlds largest concentration of terrorists, and the India-US Working Group on Counter-Terrorism was active long before 9/11. India is also adjacent to the worlds largest origins and destinations of proliferation of nuclear weapons and delivery systems”, he said.
The Indian ambassador also warned on the dangers of nuclear terrorism for both India and the US.
“The worst-case national security nightmare for both our countries is nuclear terrorism”, he said.
Hailing the multi-faceted cooperation between India and the US, Sen said it reflected the mutual trust and confidence the two nations shared.
“It is a fact that cooperation in areas like that of nuclear energy, defence and space can only be based on mutual confidence and trust and a shared long-term strategic vision”, he said.
On defence cooperation between New Delhi and Washington, Sen said that it was “an important facet of our relationship.
“The visit of Defence Secretary Gates to India this month will become the third visit of a US Defence Secretary to India in as many years. Joint exercises between our armed forces are increasing in scale and sophistication”, he said.
“We envisage not just defence procurements from the US, but co-production, transfer of technologies and even joint Research and Development. The Defence Policy Group, which met last month in Washington, and its five working groups, is facilitating this process”, he said.
Highlighting the role of Indian-American community in strengthening the relationship between the two nations, Sen said “this 2.5 million-strong community is highly educated, innovative, entrepreneurial, and increasingly politically active. It is emerging as a major factor for stronger bilateral ties.
He also said that India was the biggest consumer of US educational services. “There are more Indian students in the USA than in any other country”, he said.