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US looking at ‘reinvigorating’ India-US relationship: Rhodes

Narendra Modi is expected to meet US President Obama in September.

By: Press Trust of India | Washington | Updated: July 4, 2014 10:41 am
modi-obama-L Economy and trade, energy and climate change, regional security and counter-terrorism are expected to be the focus areas when Obama meets Modi. (Source: Express Archive)

The US is excited about the prospect of  “reinvigorating” the Indo-US ties under the new Indian Government and is looking forward to a meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a top White House official has said.

“Economy and trade, energy and climate change, regional security, counter-terrorism and Asia Pacific region are expected to be the focus areas when Obama meets Modi, this would also be an opportunity for the two leaders to establish a personal equations for the years to come,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said on Thursday.

The White House is eagerly looking at “reinvigorating” India-US relationship, the top Obama aide said, adding that no date has been set yet for the Modi-Obama meeting.

“We are very excited about the prospect of giving new shot of energy in the US-India relationship. Having a strong Prime Minister, who is new to office, has ambitions, I think would be helpful,”Rhodes said.

“The first impression is that they (Modi Government) come in (to power) with a lot of energy, with a substantial mandate and with a lot of ambition. We (Obama Administration) were impressed by the (election) campaign of Prime Minister Modi”.

“And he was not shy about expressing an ambitious view what he wants his government to do,” Deputy National Security Advisor said.

“He (Modi) was clearly in his conversation with the (US) President, and his conversation publicly that the primary focus of his is going to be revitalising the Indian economy, which is good for us”.

“We very much support the efforts that can be taken domestically within India to promote growth, because that would definitely benefit the United States,” the top presidential aide told reporters.

“So we see an opportunity. Whenever you have a new leader coming up with that kind of mandate, it opens up space for greater co-operation, because new items can come on the agenda, or things that have got put aside because of the election season, we can take up again,” Rhodes said.

As Modi pursues his economic policies, the Obama Administration will try figure out how the two countries can work more closely together, he said.

Modi is expected to meet Obama in September.

“Whenever you have a new leader, part of it is forging a personal relationship, part of it is also hearing about what their program is”.

“So I think, President Obama would want to hear about policies and reforms that Prime Minister Modi is pursuing in India,” he said.

Increased trade, investment and commercial ties is going to be the focus. With the Obama Administration looking at post 2014 situation in Afghanistan, India’s role is going to be vital, he said.

“As we look as post 2014 Afghanistan, India obviously has a role to play in the stability in the region,” he said adding that given shared concerns about terrorism, India and US cooperate very closely on counter-terrorism issues.

Rhodes said the White House has supported Modi’s SAARC initiative, including inviting the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, for his swearing in ceremony on May 26.

Climate change is another area of vital co-operation with India, he said adding that the United States can’t achieve goals on climate change without full co-operation from India and China.

“You are not going to get a successful climate agreement next year without United States, China and India joining with European and other economies like Japan. So I think, energy climate would be an issue. Nuclear (energy) is another (issue for co-operation with India),” he said.

“But then figuring out what space that opens out to co-operate on greater commercial ties, increased trade and investment, counter-terrorism co-operation”.

“What is our regional co-operation in South Asia, climate and energy issues,” he said adding that the US encourages India to be an active participant in the Asia Pacific region.

Rhodes said there would be a broad agenda that over the course of the next several months “we would seek to” focusing on what are the areas where the two countries can make progress and issues that the Obama Administration can launch together with the Modi Government to “reinvigorate” the India US relationship.

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