Obama’s India visit a watershed: US

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Thursday, December 9, 2010

WASHINGTON - After US President Barack Obama’s “watershed” visit to India, the challenge before the two countries was to define an agenda meeting the ambitious vision agreed by their leaders, a top US diplomat says.

“I believe President Obama’s recently concluded trip will be remembered as another watershed, when the US and India embarked for the first time on concrete initiatives to develop our global strategic partnership,” Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake said here Wednesday.

“The challenge before us now is to define an agenda for both governments going forward that capitalises on what we have achieved and meets the ambitious vision agreed by President Obama and Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh,” he said at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think-tank.

Noting widening economic interests “have reinforced India’s readiness to share responsibility for securing Asia, for safeguarding the sea and air routes on which much of the global economy depends,” Blake said: “It is very much in the American interest for India to build on this role in the years ahead.”

The US, he said envisions “a relationship where together both countries capitalise on our complementary strengths as knowledge and innovation hubs, to expand opportunities for engagement between our private sectors, academia, and scientific and research communities”.

“Our private sectors are already there,” Blake said and “our governments need to match the ambition of our businesses”.

Full-spectrum collaboration between the two countries “promises to provide mutually inclusive growth and innovation for the people of India and the United States, and to deliver pioneering solutions and opportunities for millions of others around the world,” he said.

Earlier, Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar said the strategic relationship between the two countries has reached a new level following Obama’s India visit.

“We see the US as a valuable partner in meeting our developmental aspiration, building peace in our neighbourhood, and sharing our global interests,” she said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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