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PM conveys concerns over protectionism 
Ashok Tuteja & PTI

New Delhi, July 20
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today conveyed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the concerns in India over growing protectionism in the US.

Singh raised the issue and pointed out that the Indian business community was concerned over the growing protectionism in the US when Clinton met him here, PMO sources said. Clinton insisted that the US did not have protectionist policies, the sources said.

India has been worried over protectionism in the US that has been increasing in view of the economic crisis, affecting industry in this country.

New Delhi has been emphasising that the developed nations should not take recourse to protectionism as it would deepen the crisis, especially in the developing countries.

During the meeting, which was followed by lunch hosted by the Prime Minister in honour of the visiting dignitary, the two sides reviewed the bilateral relations that spans across a wide range of sectors.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reassured New Delhi that the Obama administration was committed to further deepening relationship with India as the two countries concluded three key accords to intensify cooperation in areas like defence, science and technology and space.

In one single sentence, she sought to dispel any doubts in the minds of India that the Obama administration would not be as enthusiastic as the previous Bush administration was in enhancing ties with New Delhi. “We are committed to not only maintaining our close relationship with India but also to broadening it.”

Winding up her five-day visit to India with meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other top Indian leaders, Hillary declared that cooperation between the world’s oldest democracy and the largest democracy would be “a driver of progress in the 21st century.’’ She went on to add that an expanded relationship between India and the US would be a ‘signature accomplishment’’ of the Manmohan Singh government and the Obama administration.

At a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, she also stated categorically that the recent controversial joint statement of G-8 countries not to provide enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies to countries which have not signed the NPT would not apply to India.

“Prime Minister Singh told me this morning that sites for two nuclear parks for the US have been identified.’’ Though she did not name the states where the sites American reactors would be located, it is believed that one would be in Andhra Pradesh and the other in Gujarat.

The nuclear reactors will create jobs for people in both countries besides generating the much-needed nuclear energy for India. She hoped India would soon adopt the viability legislation also that would promote private American investments in the civil nuclear sector in India.

To a question on Iran, Hillary said there was no difference between India and the US that Iran should be prevented from possessing nuclear weapons. “The Indian Prime Minister also does not want Iran to become a nuclear power.’’

During her official-level talks with the Indian foreign minister, the two sides are understood to have discussed a whole range of issues, including the fight against terrorism, situation in Pakistan and the action taken by Islamabad to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, Af-Pak strategy, climate change, global economic meltdown, disarmament and non-proliferation.

The two countries also adopted a joint statement, committing themselves to pursuing a third and transformative phase of the relationship that would enhance global prosperity and stability in the 21st century. The two ministers would also chair an “India-US Strategic dialogue’’ that would meet once annually in alternate capitals.

As far as the three agreements are concerned, the most significant is the end-use monitoring arrangement that will enable India procure US defence technology and equipment.

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