Friday, Oct 24, 2014

US President looking to set ‘new agenda’ with India

Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj and John Kerry in New Delhi on Friday. (Source: PTI) Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj and John Kerry in New Delhi on Friday. (Source: PTI)
Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Posted: August 2, 2014 12:21 am

In the wake of disagreements between India and the US over WTO negotiations on food subsidies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday told the visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry that there is a need for developed countries to understand the challenges of poverty in developing countries.

Discussing the regional situation, Modi also stressed on the “need to confront terrorism on the principles of zero tolerance for terrorism and eschewing a selective approach to terrorism”.

Kerry was accompanied by US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker when they called on Modi. The Indian side was represented by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, NSA Ajit K Doval and foreign secretary Sujatha Singh, among other officials.

During the hour-long meeting, the two visiting secretaries briefed Modi on the India-US Strategic Dialogue talks held with Sushma on Thursday.

A PMO statement said, “The PM emphasised the need for developed countries to understand the challenges of poverty in developing countries and their governments’ responsibilities in addressing them, when discussions take place in international forums.”

The statement said Modi discussed the regional situation, including India’s engagement in the Asia Pacific region, commitment to bring South Asia together in a united effort to promote regional economic development, India’s commitment to continue its support to Afghanistan, and the need to confront terrorism on a “zero tolerance” principle.

Kerry conveyed that US President Barack Obama attached “great priority” to relations with India, both for bilateral cooperation and global partnership, and looks forward to a “productive and fruitful” summit in September in Washington to set an “ambitious new agenda” to chart a new course in the relationship.

As per the statement, Modi said there was broad convergence of views and interests between the two countries. He outlined his vision for India and for the partnership between the world’s two largest democracies in addressing global challenges, promoting peace and stability in the world and supporting India’s own economic transformation. The PM also highlighted opportunities for partnership in trade, investment, clean energy, innovation, education, skill development, agro-processing and youth empowerment.

Modi also thanked Kerry and Pritzker for visiting India, although it was the turn of the US to host the Strategic Dialogue, conveyed his appreciation for Obama’s thoughtful and detailed letter, and “asked both sides to prepare for concrete outcomes during the summit to take the relationship to an entirely new level, on the basis of vision, strategy and action plan”.

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