October 26, 2010 1:58:22 pm
India hopes to put in place a robust strategic framework with the US after the maiden visit of President Barack Obama to the country next month.
Sources said that the objective of New Delhi from this visit is to “consolidate the progress achieved” so far and to put in place a “robust strategic framework” that would herald a strong India-US partnership bilaterally and on key global and regional issues.
The deliverables were almost given a final shape,during the just concluded visit of the top two State Department officials to India ¿ the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs,Bill Burns,and the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia,Robert Blake.
This now needs to be vetted by the White House,which has now scheduled a series of meetings on the Asia trip of Obama,which will also cover Indonesia,South Korea and Japan.
Officials said Obama visit would take the relationship to a new level given that there has been significant progress in Indo-US bilateral relations over the last two years reflected in the intensity and breadth of engagement between the officials of the two countries,which they described as unprecedented.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Obama have met six times in less than 18 months.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had about a dozen meetings with top Indian officials during this period,including her own travel to New Delhi last year.
Obama has described India-US relations as one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century- and the new US National Security Strategy issued in May this year,identified India-US relations as one of the three key global relationships for the United States,officials said,adding that this reflects the growing importance of New Delhi for the Obama Administration.
“Our cooperation has expanded in scope to cover cooperation in areas such as security,trade and economic relations as well as scientific and social sectors,” an Indian diplomat said.
The official requested anonymity because the trip has not been officially announced yet.
The official refrained from giving details of the deliverables during the Obama visit,but indicated that this could include a India-specific exemption from import-export restriction that would include lifting of sanctions from Indian entities like the ISRO announcing major arms sales deal with American companies which could be to the tune of USD 4 to USD 5 billion. This would include C-17s.
There is also possibility of a major agreement in the civil aviation sector.
In recent years,India has been one of the major buyers of the American aviation industry,in particular the Boeing company.
“There is a rich agenda before the two governments,” the Indian diplomat said adding that this includes the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.
Even though the US has expressed its reservations about the recently passed Nuclear Liability Bill by the Parliament,the diplomat ruled out making any changes in the legislation.
However the official said talks are going on right now with the US companies on how to proceed ahead under the current legal framework.
There could also be a few major announcements in the energy,agriculture and health sector during the trip.
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