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Statement by External Affairs Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee at the Joint Press Interaction with US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice

Hyderabad House
October 4, 2008

Secretary Rice and I have just had very constructive and useful talks. It is always a pleasure to welcome a good friend and trusted partner to India. Under Secretary Rice’s stewardship, India-US relations are today better than they have ever been before and have been transformed into a truly strategic partnership.

During our discussions we covered a wide range of subjects. We were both very satisfied with the status of our bilateral relationship and are convinced of its future potential. Today India and the US engage as partners across the entire range of human endeavour. The civil nuclear energy initiative is now in its last lap. We look forward to signing our 123 Agreement and bringing it into effect soon. I am grateful to Secretary Rice for all that she has done to make possible this landmark achievement and transformational event. It is this agreement which has opened the door for India to international nuclear commerce.

What India and the US are doing today has direct benefits for our peoples, and assists India’s effort to develop. Whether it is energy, agricultural research, trade or high-technology, India’s quest to build a knowledge society leads us to work very closely with US. Today the USA is India’s largest trading partner, our largest source of investment and a major source of technology. As India grows and develops, our relationship with the US too will grow and develop.

India-US relations today have more than bilateral significance. We naturally also discussed the regional situation and global issues. Ours is a neighbourhood of several challenges. India seeks a peaceful periphery within which to develop. We have an interest in the peace, stability and prosperity of our neighbours, and will make our contribution to these outcomes.

Among the global issues that we discussed, we found commonalities of approach. We determined to continue working together on a wide range of issues, ranging from climate change to UN reform, including that of the UN Security Council.

As we looked back with satisfaction at the transformation of India-US relations, we are convinced of the future prospects of this relationship. The vision for this relationship laid down by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Bush is one that serves the interests of our peoples, and those of the region and the world. India and the US, as two democracies with shared values, look forward to building this partnership based on principle and pragmatism in the years to come.
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