US preparing for Manmohan Singh's Nov 24 visit
New York, Sep 26, 2009
The United States is hard at work preparing for Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh's state visit on Nov 24 as it views India as one
of its most important partners in the 21st century.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conveyed this to External
Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna as they met here Friday to discuss
the shape of their emerging strategic partnership.
Manmohan Singh's visit will be the first state visit of the Obama
administration, and "still a lot of work is to be done there,"
said Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State briefing reporters
on the Clinton-Krishna meeting.
Clinton told Krishna that the US hoped to move forward on civil
nuclear cooperation with India.
There are still some steps that have to be taken there, particularly
with respect to signing liability legislation, getting the Indian
parliament to approve liability legislation for US companies,
but also to announce formally the two reactor parks that will
be set aside for US companies, Blake said.
The UN Security Council resolution urging all states to join
the NPT did not come up at the Clinton-Krishna meeting. But "we've
said before that the resolution does not have any bearing on our
bilateral civil nuclear cooperation, and that really shouldn't
have any effect whatsoever."
"So we've provided reassurances to that effect to our friends
in the Indian government," Blake said.
Recalling her very positive visit to India in July and the launch
of the US-India Strategic Dialogue, Clinton touched on some of
the things that are already underway.
Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram during a visit to Washington
earlier this month had a wide range of appointments to discuss
how they can further enhance the already strong counter-terrorism
cooperation between the US and India, she noted.
Touching on India-Pakistan relations, Clinton hoped that the
two sides can agree on the steps that they believe are necessary
to get their relations back on a more positive footing.
On India-Pakistan, Blake said "our position has always been
that this is something that needs to be worked out between our
two friends, India and Pakistan."
Clinton also briefed Krishna on President Barack Obama's announcement
with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown about US concerns regarding the new Iranian nuclear
On Iran, Blake said Clinton made no requests. But he recalled
that "Mammohan Singh has repeatedly made clear that they
don't believe it is in India's interest to have another nuclear
weapons state in the region."
Clinton also reaffirmed the importance of the US and India working
together to achieve a successful outcome at Copenhagen on climate
change, Blake said.