Obama administration to announce new policy on India

Obama administration to announce new policy on India
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First Published: Fri, May 15 2009. 01 54 PM IST
Updated: Fri, May 15 2009. 01 54 PM IST
Washington: A top American diplomat has said that US is looking forward to enhancing strategic partnership with India and is likely to make some announcements on it fairly soon.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) in his confirmation hearing, Robert Blake told American Senators that Obama is committed to strengthen the existing strategic partnership between the two countries.
“President Obama has said that US sees India as a global power and as a very important partner for us in addressing the challenges that we will face in the 21st century,” Blake said when Senator Tom Casey asked about future of Indo-US relationship under the new administration.
“So our task will be to try to strengthen the strategic partnership that exists between the US and India, to base that on our converging values and our converging interests,” he said.
Noting that civic nuclear deal is now a landmark agreement between the two nations, Blake told the lawmakers: “I would steer you to just point out that we think that we can cooperate on a broad range of fronts, not only bilaterally but to address some of these new challenges such as global climate change, the global trade talks and things like that.”
“The Obama administration is looking for a more enhanced strategic partnership with India,” Blake, who was till recently the US ambassador to Sri Lanka, said.
“If confirmed, I will be working with members of the administration to define exactly the parameters of that,” he said.
“We hope to have some announcements for you fairly soon on that,” Blake, who has also served as deputy ambassador at the US embassy in New Delhi, said without elaborating.
Other top Obama administration officials have said that Washington was looking forward to work with the new Indian government on a range of issues, including the volatile situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
On the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, Blake said that the agreement was on the right track, even as New Delhi has to complete a few formalities in this regard.
“The nuke deal is going very well. There is still a couple of steps that the Indians have to take to fully implement that agreement,” he said.
“India has to bring the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement into force. They also have to file with the IAEA a declaration of their nuclear facilities,” he said.
“That would be consistent with the separation plan that they outlined in 2006. So there are still several steps that need to be taken, and we’ll be working closely with our friends in the Indian government to see that those are done rapidly,” Blake said.
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First Published: Fri, May 15 2009. 01 54 PM IST