M A I N   N E W S

Manmohan-Obama meet boosts defence, security ties
Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington DC

September 28
The US and India sought more intensive engagement on a gamut of issues, including defence, security, bilateral trade, and efforts to dismantle terrorist safe havens and promote clean energy. This declaration was made in a joint statement issued after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met US President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday.

The two sides welcomed conclusion of a preliminary contract between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and US nuclear giant Westinghouse to develop a nuclear power plant in Gujarat. They urged NPCIL and US companies Westinghouse and General Electric-Hitachi to expedite work to establish nuclear power plants in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

Both leaders emphasised the need for more intensive defense cooperation. Defence trade between the nations has reached nearly $9 billion. Obama encouraged the further participation of US firms in partnering India’s efforts to enhance its defence capacities.

The White House released a separate factsheet in which it noted that the NPCIL-Westinghouse contract should facilitate progress toward licencing the AP-1000 nuclear reactor technology in India. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Indian Atomic Energy Regulatory Board also intend to sign a memorandum of understanding for the exchange of technical information in nuclear safety matters.

On counterterrorism, the nations emphasised the need for a joint and concerted effort, including dismantling of terrorist safe havens, and disrupting all financial and tactical support for terrorism.

Both condemned the September 26 terror strike in Jammu and Kashmir and reaffirmed their commitment to eliminate terrorist safe havens and infrastructure and disrupt terrorist networks, including Al-Qaida and Lashkar-e-Toiba. They called on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks to justice.

The US and India sought expansion of cooperation to address 21st century challenges in the areas of counterterrorism, cyber, space, and global health security.

“The leaders decided to significantly expand information sharing and intelligence cooperation to address threats to their respective nations, including strengthening the bilateral relationship to exchange information on known and suspected terrorists,” the joint statement said.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to concluding a Bilateral Investment Treaty. The joint statement noted that US-India trade had increased five-fold since 2001 to nearly $100 billion and that Obama and Manmohan Singh agreed that “there are no insurmountable impediments to bilateral trade increasing an additional five-fold.”

The leaders also affirmed their commitment to work towards a successful outcome at the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Bali; welcomed cooperation in scientific research and joint collaboration in science, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Obama and Manmohan Singh endorsed a proposal to launch an initiative to deploy innovative renewable energy solutions to those in need. The two leaders announced establishment of an India-US Climate Change Working Group to, among other things, develop and advance action-oriented cooperation.

New high

* Taking defence ties to a new level, India and the US will undertake joint development and production of military hardware

* This will involve transfer of high-end technology from the US, a move aimed at matching Russia's co-operation with India

* The US expressed its support to India's full membership in the four international export control regimes that would further facilitate technology sharing





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