Date: 14th June 2012
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. It has been a great pleasure to welcome Minister Krishna and his distinguished delegation to Washington. We have had an excellent meeting of the Strategic Dialogue between our two nations covering a wide range of bilateral, regional, and global issues, and I will just touch on a few highlights. First, I want to put this third Strategic Dialogue into a broader context. India and the United States have a strong foundation of friendship and cooperation. But today we are seeing something new. The strategic fundamentals of our relationship are pushing our two countries’ interests into closer convergence.
By strategic fundamentals I mean not just our shared democratic values, but also our economic imperatives and our diplomatic and security priorities. For example, in order to grow and prosper in today’s world, both the United States and India need an open, free, fair, and transparent global economic system. We both seek security and stability in South Asia and the Asia Pacific. And we both see the importance of a coordinated international response to violent extremism and other shared global challenges.
What does this mean for our partnership? Well, today there is less need for dramatic breakthroughs that marked earlier phases in our relationship, but more need for steady, focused cooperation aimed at working through our differences and advancing the interests and values we share. This kind of daily, weekly, monthly collaboration may not always be glamorous, but it is strategically significant. And that is, after all, what this dialogue is all about.
On the economic front, we reviewed the progress that we’ve made together, and acknowledged there is still more room for growth, investment, and business ties. We need to advance negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty, further reduce barriers to trade and investment in our two countries, create more hospitable environments for companies to do business.
And I was pleased that just yesterday, Westinghouse and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India signed an agreement that will speed construction of new power plants in Gujarat and help India meet its energy needs. I look forward to additional deals involving other leading American companies, including General Electric. And we will work together to ensure these projects are implemented to produce real benefits for citizens and businesses alike.
We also covered a number of serious concerns such as counterterrorism, cyber security, and sustainable development. We discussed cooperation in Afghanistan and the importance of working together with other partners to help build a peaceful and prosperous South Asia. Both the United States and India have signed strategic partnership agreements with Afghanistan to demonstrate our enduring commitment, and today we agreed to move forward with a formal trilateral consultation among our three nations. I told Minister Krishna how much we appreciate India’s efforts in Afghanistan and the region and how much we are looking forward to the investment conference that India will host later this month in New Delhi.
We also discussed the steps that the Governments of India and Pakistan are taking to open up avenues for trade, investment, and movement of people. And I applaud the leadership that Prime Minister Singh and Prime Minister Gilani have demonstrated.
We paid particular attention to the future of the Asia-Pacific region and our strong support for India’s Look East Policy. We will work together through key multilateral institutions such as the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum. And the United States really welcomes India’s support for our participation as dialogue partner in the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation.
And finally, we worked through some of the issues that we have fielded in common because of the concerns about Iran’s continuing search for a nuclear weapon, and India has made it clear that – Iran, like all countries, must live up to their international obligations and, as I reported to Congress this week, India has taken steps to diversify its sources of imported crude by reducing purchases of Iranian oil. We recognize the important energy needs that India has, and we’re working with India, not only to ensure stable oil markets, but to do more to open up other sources of energy for India.
Now, on all these and other key issues, we are working to convert common interests into common actions. And we have to follow through. But I was very encouraged by what we heard today. Things that don’t make the headlines but are so critical, such as yesterday’s first ever higher education dialogue, making it easier for U.S. and Indian researchers, students, faculty to take advantage of the educational resources and opportunities in both countries. And we announced the first eight grant recipients of the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative.
Our Science and Technology Joint Commission are working on improving our linkages in science and engineering and data sharing. We have a new agreement signed in the health area to boost research on diabetes. And, for the first time, we agreed to share the U.S.-India Open Government Platform software that promotes transparency and accountability with a third country partner, Rwanda.
The list is very long and the Minister and I will be making a comprehensive report – he to the Prime Minister, I to the President – of everything that’s been happening in all of the various aspects of this incredibly important dialogue.
But I want to thank my partner and colleague in this work for his leadership and his attention that has translated this idea into a very important reality for both our countries.
FOREIGN MINISTER KRISHNA: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. It is always a pleasure for me to come back to Washington, DC because it is in this city that I have spent a couple of years of my very interesting interaction into American politics. And I had the pleasure of meeting some of great Americans who have led this country subsequently in subsequent years.
And it is always an added pleasure for me, personally, to meet with Secretary Clinton. I always derive so much of comfort and so much of inspiration, if I may say so, Secretary Clinton.
Three years back, we started on this journey of this strategic relationship. And this is the third year in succession that we are representing our two great countries. And let me convey that we had a very productive strategic dialogue. I want to thank all my ministerial colleagues and senior officials for their participation. Our presence here speaks to the extraordinary depth and diversity of our engagement, which is ever increasing. The relationship between our two countries and our two vibrant democracies, one the oldest and the other one the largest. Secretary Clinton and I expressed confidence about realizing the enormous potentials of our economic ties and addressing the concerns on both sides, which I had outlined at USIBC yesterday.
We welcome the tangible progress on about similar nuclear energy cooperation, as was mentioned by Secretary Clinton with the signing of the MOU between NPCIL and the Westinghouse. I think this should put at rest some of the interpretations and some of the confusion that was prevailing in the immediate aftermath after we signed the nuclear accord. But I’m glad that things are now – nuclear commerce is now beginning to expand itself and we hope more Indian and American companies will be involved in the course of the coming months. We, Secretary and I, support the growing emphasis on defense technology transfers and core development and core production in our expanding defense relationship. I have informed Secretary Clinton of our willingness to receive a team of officials to visit India for the search and recovery of the remains of the MIAs from World War II. Stronger and more effective cooperation in counterterrorism, homeland security, cyber security, and intelligence in recent years is an important aspect of our strategic partnership. India’s interest in further access to Headley and Rana in accordance with our legal procedures for the investigations into the Mumbai terror attack of November 2008 was raised.
We recommend the broad portfolio of cooperation in clean energy. I also sought a liberal U.S. regime for gas exports to India, which would be in our mutual economic and energy security interest. We agreed to strengthen the impressive array of our programs in higher education, health, science and technology, innovation, agriculture, and women’s empowerment. We have made tangible progress in these areas.
As Secretary Clinton has pointed out, our discussions demonstrated yet again our shared interest and convergent views on a range of regional and global issues. We are committed to build Afghan capacity for governance, development, and security, and to unlock its economic potential through regional integration. We again stressed the importance of eliminations of safe havens in Pakistan for Afghanistan’s security and the region’s stability.
We discussed the Gulf region and West Asia, including our concern about the growing violence in Syria. Secretary Clinton updated me on the P-5+1 talks with Iran. I conveyed India’s vital interest in settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue. There are six million Indians who live in this region, which is also of critical importance to our economy. We shared perspectives on the profound changes taking place in Myanmar, and also I briefed her on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent visit to Myanmar.
Friends, we continue to intensify our dialogue on Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean region. As also associated regional architectures, we affirmed our mutual interest in maritime security. Secretary Clinton welcomed India’s growing engagement in the Asia Pacific. I welcomed the U.S. interest in becoming a dialogue partner with IOR-ARC. I’m told that as the current chair, we will take it forward with other IOR-ARC members.
Our meeting today yet again underscored the global dimensions of our relationship and added new momentum to our partnership. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.