U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and India’s External Affairs Minister, Shri S.M. Krishna, met in Washington on June 3, 2010, for the inaugural meeting of the “India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue.” President Barack Obama welcomed the Indian delegation and emphasized his commitment to strengthening the growing U.S.-India partnership.
Minister Krishna was accompanied by Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Kapil Sibal, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of India, Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Minister of State for Science and Technology, Shri Prithviraj Chavan and high ranking officials of the Government of India.
Secretary Clinton was joined by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, FBI Director Robert Mueller, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, the President’s Advisor for Science and Technology Dr. Holdren, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman, and other high ranking U.S. Government officials.
The U.S. – India Strategic Dialogue is propelled by the dynamic momentum achieved in the U.S.-India relationship over the last decade and is in pursuance of the global strategic partnership - for a better world that Prime Minister Singh and President Obama reaffirmed during their meetings in November 2009 and April 2010 in Washington. Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna pledged to deepen people-to-people, business-to-business, and government-to-government linkages between the world’s oldest and largest democracies, for the mutual benefit of both countries and for the promotion of global peace, stability, economic growth and prosperity. Both recalled that the India - U.S. partnership rests on the firm foundation of common ideals as well as security and economic interests. The guiding principles upon which both nations were founded – democracy, mutual respect, individual liberty, rule of law, and an appreciation for the strength we derive from being pluralistic societies – make the India -U.S. bond strong, resilient, and uniquely important for building a peaceful, prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable world.
They pledged that as strategic partners, India and the United States would continue to consult each other closely on regional and global developments, and remain sensitive to each other's interests. They confirmed that global institutions of governance should reflect contemporary realities and enhance effectiveness, in order to meet the challenges of the new century.
In addition to advancing global security and stability, both recognized that their two countries had enormous opportunities to deepen their cooperation in trade and investment, science and technology, infrastructure investment, environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation, energy security, education, agriculture, food security, healthcare and empowerment of people.
The two leaders emphasized that the Strategic Dialogue and its detailed architecture is a vital instrument to pursue these goals.
The co--chairs welcomed the significant progress across all pillars of the India –U.S. Strategic Dialogue since its launch on July 20, 2009.
Advancing Global Security and Countering Terrorism
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton reiterated their shared goal of advancing security and stability across Asia, in particular, through the emergence of an open, balanced, and inclusive architecture of cooperation in the region. Secretary Clinton welcomed India's leadership role in helping to shape the rise of a stable, peaceful and prosperous Asia. They shared their perspectives on South and Central Asia, East and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean regions and pledged to expand regular high-level exchanges on regional issues of mutual concern.
Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna reiterated their shared interest and commitment to a stable, sovereign, democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan. They reiterated the importance of a sustained international commitment to Afghanistan that builds local capacities through Afghan-led initiatives. Secretary Clinton welcomed India's vital contribution to reconstruction, capacity building and development efforts in Afghanistan and its offer to enhance efforts in this direction. Both sides pledged to explore opportunities for coordination on civilian assistance projects that advance Afghan self-sufficiency and build civilian capacity.
India and the U.S. committed to regularly consult with each other on Afghanistan. It is in our common interest that the people of Afghanistan succeed in their reconstruction and development efforts without outside interference, in an atmosphere free from violence and extremism. Afghanistan’s success is vital for the security and stability of the region.
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton expressed grave concern over recent incidents in the United States and India that remind that terrorism and violent extremism know no boundaries and remain continuing threats to global, regional, and domestic security.
They acknowledged the importance of continued cooperation in efforts to defeat terrorism. They reaffirmed the critical principle that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism in any form. They called for swift and credible steps to eliminate terrorist safe havens and vowed to strengthen global consensus and legal regimes against terrorism, including by working together at the UN toward adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that strengthens our efforts in combating terrorism.
Both Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton heralded the unprecedented and expanding India-U.S. counterterrorism partnership, as embodied in the recently announced U.S.-India Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative to enhance collaboration, information sharing and capacity building. Secretary Clinton reiterated the continued U.S. commitment to provide full cooperation and support in ongoing counterterrorism investigations, including through continued exchanges of information between designated agencies and by bringing the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terrorism attack to justice.
Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna also acknowledged the global dimension of cyberspace, the increasing interdependency in the area of information technology, and the excellent progress made in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Dialogue by the Indo-U.S. Working Group in this regard. They reiterated the necessity of building on this momentum to strengthen cooperative efforts in the area of ICT in general and also to address emerging transnational cyber-security challenges.
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton expressed satisfaction with the strengthening of defense cooperation in recent years and stressed that security dialogues, service-level exchanges, and trade and technology transfer and collaboration on mutually determined terms were an intrinsic part of the strategic partnership and should be further strengthened. They welcomed the regular engagement of Armed Forces of both countries, including through conduct of joint military exercises. They recognized the scope for enhancement of defense trade between both countries to the mutual benefit of both sides.
Both countries pledged to continue to work together on areas of mutual interest including maritime security, counter-piracy, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and response.
Disarmament and Non Proliferation
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton reiterated the two countries’ shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and restated their commitment to address the challenges of global nuclear proliferation. Minister Krishna reiterated India’s appreciation for President Obama’s initiative to host the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC. They expressed satisfaction with the Summit’s outcome and the adoption of a Communiqué and Work Plan.
Secretary Clinton welcomed India’s announcement of establishing a Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership with focus on advanced nuclear energy systems, nuclear security, radiological safety and applications of radio isotopes and radiation technologies and appreciated India's intent to welcome participation by international partner countries and IAEA in the work of the Centre.
They also committed to continue working together to achieve an early start of negotiations on a multilateral, non-discriminatory and internationally and effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty at the Conference on Disarmament.
Trade and Economic Relations
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton, though encouraged by signs of global economic recovery, recognized that the recovery is fragile and requires sustained international support, including through concerted efforts by G-20 countries and continuing openness in trade policies and promoting innovation and growth. They looked forward to the next meeting of the G-20 in Canada. They called for a balanced and ambitious conclusion to the Doha Development Round, consistent with its mandate. As members of the G 20, they agreed to advance the G 20 understandings including with regard to energy security and resisting protectionism in all its forms.
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton noted that both Governments have taken steps to strengthen their bilateral engagement and understanding in three broad areas – macroeconomic policy, financial sector, and infrastructure financing - through the launch of a new Economic and Financial Partnership’ between India’s Ministry of Finance and the Department of the Treasury in April 2010. The partnership is intended to help both countries to promote strong, sustainable, and balanced growth, as well as share experiences on infrastructure financing and financial sector regulation. They also took note of the accelerated work under the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) led by the U.S. Trade Representative and India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry. One key result was the signing of a ‘Framework for Cooperation on Trade and Investment’ in March 2010 which, uniquely, is expected to contribute to realizing the further potential in bilateral trade and investment, supporting job creation in both countries.
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton underlined the importance of facilitating co-operation in strategic and high technology sectors such as through the 7th meeting of the High Technology Cooperation Group in Washington in March 2010 as a key instrument to achieve the full potential of the strategic partnership. Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton confirmed the shared objective of a strong 21st century partnership in high technology. They committed to approach the issue of export controls in the spirit of the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Energy Security, Clean Energy and Climate Change
The United States and India have taken crucial steps towards full implementation of civil nuclear cooperation. Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton reiterated that nuclear energy can make a significant contribution to building a sustainable and clean energy future. They highlighted the Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation Action Plan recently signed by the two countries.
They welcomed the successful conclusion of negotiations on the Arrangements and Procedures Agreed between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India pursuant to Article 6(iii) of the India-U.S. Agreement Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, which sets forth the arrangements and procedures for India’s reprocessing of U.S.-obligated spent nuclear fuel.
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton discussed progress on energy and climate change issues since the signing of the U.S.-India Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Security, Clean Energy, and Climate Change. They stressed that the Clean Energy and Climate Change Initiative they finalized last year would contribute to achieving sustainable development and a clean energy future for the people of both countries. The goal of establishing a Joint Clean Energy Research Center and accelerating collaborative efforts to deploy clean energy technologies in both countries remains a priority. They reiterated that the “Partnership to Advance Clean Energy,” to be launched by both countries to take full advantage of multi-agency coordination and engagement with the private sector, constitutes an important step forward in developing and deploying clean energy.
They discussed their respective national action plans and initiatives to address the challenge of climate change. They noted the enormous potential for scientific and commercial collaboration in clean energy technologies and recognized that their respective experience and expertise in renewable energy and energy efficiency provided a sound platform for building their bilateral partnership further and supporting similar efforts in other countries, especially developing countries.
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton reaffirmed their support for the Copenhagen Accord as a positive step forward in meeting the global climate challenge, and underscored its importance in building consensus in the ongoing negotiations under the UNFCCC in pursuance of the Bali Action Plan, towards a successful outcome at the Sixteenth Conference of Parties at Cancun, Mexico, later this year.
They also welcomed the launch of the India-U.S. Climate Dialogue, which seeks to enhance bilateral U.S.-India cooperation with a view to achieving a successful outcome of the ongoing multilateral climate change negotiations. They reiterated the importance of the Climate Dialogue in focusing and coordinating both countries’ priorities in dealing with climate change consistent with their national policies and strategies. In this regard, both sides recognized that further cooperation in knowledge on climate science can enhance our shared understanding of the planet’s climate. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate in the area of unconventional gas resources, as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Cooperation on Energy Security, Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Climate Change.
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton noted that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Cooperation and Food Security would increase cooperation in agricultural research, human resources capacity building, natural resource management, agri-business and food processing, and collaborative research for increasing food productivity. They noted that India's experience with agricultural development in the framework of low capital intensity and diverse conditions offers useful lessons for other developing countries. They resolved to continue to look for innovative ways to work together to promote agricultural development and reduce rural poverty, promote global food security, and improve weather prediction and crop forecasting capabilities for agricultural purposes in order to improve livelihoods in the rural sectors. They also pledged to work together to improve the farm to market supply chain, food processing, and agricultural extension programs.
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton acknowledged the positive contribution of cooperation in education and science and technology to bilateral relations. They noted the enormous potential for enhancing academic exchanges and collaboration, including through participation of U.S. universities in India, in the context of the ongoing reforms and expansion of the higher education and professional training sectors in India. Education cooperation is an area of high priority for the two Governments. They welcomed the steps taken towards implementation of the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative launched last year with the goal of increasing university linkages and junior faculty development exchanges between U.S. and Indian universities. They further welcomed in this context the formation of the India-U.S Higher Education Forum under the auspices of the U.S.-India Business Council.
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton reviewed progress on the collaborative effort to establish a Regional Global Disease Detection Center in India. They acknowledged that the Health Dialogue would provide a framework to discuss ways to accelerate bilateral cooperation and collaborations, including exchanging views on extending affordable healthcare to all sections of the population and to continuing education and training for health care practitioners at all levels of service. Both governments pledged to enhance bilateral collaboration in controlling and preventing diseases, assuring food and medical product safety, and increasing biomedical and translational research and development with the goal of identifying new and effective methods of medical treatment and ensuring equitable access of such outcomes to the citizens of both the countries.
Science and Technology
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton emphasized the importance of science and technology collaboration, both in economic and strategic areas. They welcomed the progress on the India-U.S. Science and Technology Joint Committee and the endowment. The United States and India are using their strong common scientific expertise to improve the lives of their citizens, push the boundaries of scientific knowledge, and identify projects to encourage engagement on innovation and entrepreneurship. They noted the upcoming U.S.-India Joint Committee Meeting in late June to push this agenda forward; both governments reinforced the need to support science and technology research aimed at innovation.
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton noted with satisfaction the emphasis that the two governments place on empowerment of women and advancement of their welfare, as an integral part of social and economic development worldwide. They stressed the importance of empowerment of women for global prosperity and stability. They resolved to place special emphasis on integrating women's interests in all aspects of their strategic dialogue and bilateral cooperation. They welcomed the second meeting of the Women's Empowerment Dialogue held on 27th May, 2010, where both sides discussed women’s social and economic empowerment, capacity building for self help groups, support for micro finance, political participation of women, addressing violence against women, early childhood education and gender budgeting. They also agreed on the need to work out modalities for supporting Afghan women leaders in the area of economic opportunity.
Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton pledged to continue bilateral discussions on their identified ongoing initiatives on global issues of common concern through the Global Issues Forum which is focused on how the world’s two largest democracies can form a truly global partnership by working through regional, international and multilateral cooperation.
In Pursuance of the Strategic Dialogue
Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna expressed their shared view that the India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue and the bilateral mechanisms therein provide an important platform for strengthening the U.S.-India partnership, offering a strategic vision for enhanced future cooperation. The U.S. and Indian delegations look forward to further discussions on specific matters raised at the Dialogue through expanded high-level official engagement, working groups, and existing bilateral dialogues.
Secretary Clinton confirmed President Barack Obama’s intention to visit India this year at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the leaders’ fourth substantive bilateral meeting. The co-chairs noted that this inaugural meeting of the Strategic Dialogue has helped lay the groundwork for that visit and pledged to intensify discussions on how to further deepen and broaden their cooperation.
The two sides plan to hold the next meeting of the Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi in the first half of 2011.