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Ambassador Meera Shankar's interview to the Press Trust of India

1.       What is the significance of the visit of US President, Barack Obama, to India? How it is, in your opinion,  going to change / accelerate the Indo-US relationship in the years to come?

            There is  great expectation about President Obama’s visit to India. This is after more than three decades that a US President is visiting India in his first term. We hope it would be a landmark visit that would help in consolidating our achievements in the past few years and set out a vision and direction for the future of the Indo-US strategic partnership bilaterally and on key global and regional issues. We are confident that the broad-based cooperation that we now have with the United States will be further strengthened by this visit and would in turn help in making both our countries more secure and prosperous.


2.    How do you explain the relationship between India and the United States under the Obama Administration? How is it different from the previous administration?

            There is support across both sides of the political aisle in the US for a stronger India-US partnership just as there is broad political support in India. What we see today is a consolidation of the process of transformation of our relationship that began during President Clinton’s tenure and continued during President Bush’s term. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was the first State Guest of the present US Administration and now President Obama is visiting India.  There has been significant progress in our bilateral relations which is reflected in the intensity and breadth of our engagement based on our shared democratic values, our increasingly convergent interests, our growing economic ties and connections between our peoples. 

3. What are the expected outcomes from President Obama's upcoming visit?

            The President’s visit will provide an opportunity for both sides to review the progress across the entire spectrum of our bilateral cooperation as well as to exchange views on the evolving regional and global situation including reforms in the architecture of global governance and international finance. On the bilateral front we hope to add further content to our strategic partnership by strengthening our engagement in counter-terrorism, defence, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, space, trade and economic spheres, agriculture, health and facilitation of high technology trade.

4. It is understood that India has had some concerns over the U.S. Export Control Policies.  Do you expect that issue to be sorted out before or during President Obama's visit?

            The two sides have been discussing issues related to recalibration of US export control policies and regulations vis-à-vis India keeping in view our strategic partnership. These discussions are ongoing but we are hopeful that given the commitment of both governments we should be able to reach a mutually satisfactory outcome.

5. In what way would the trip would strengthen the strategic relationship between the two countries? What are the strategic issues likely to be discussed?

Both our countries see stronger India-US relations as an important factor for peace, stability and security in the region and the world at large. There are a whole range of issues of global significance that the two sides are likely to discuss during the visit and how we could work together to seek solutions for the global challenges of the 21st century. For instance how do both our countries which are open, democratic societies meet the challenge posed by terrorism, whose epicenter unfortunately lies in our neighbourhood or how do we work together to enable an open, balanced, and inclusive security architecture in Asia or what can we do together to ensure equitable access to the global commons represented by the sea, air, space and cyber domains, that are increasingly vital to our prosperity.