Washington, Jan 26 (IANS) India and the United States have agreed to continue efforts to consolidate upon the “tremendous progress” made in strengthening their global strategic partnership and work towards implementing their civil nuclear deal.
They have also agreed to work towards implementing other initiatives that had been taken in the last few years according to readouts of a meeting here between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao Wednesday.
It was Rao’s first official meeting with Clinton since taking over as ambassador. The two had closely interacted during Rao’s previous position as India’s foreign secretary.
“Clinton and Rao discussed a broad range of bilateral and regional issues. Both recognised that there has been tremendous progress and they agreed to continue their efforts to further consolidate upon the progress made.”
They also agreed to “work towards implementing the initiatives that had been taken in the last few years including in the area of civil nuclear cooperation,” the Indian embassy said.
Clinton and Rao also exchanged perspectives on regional issues of mutual interest including the situation in Afghanistan, and recent developments with regard to Iran and Myanmar, it said.
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Clinton “had a good meeting” with Rao, and “they talked about maintaining the momentum in our bilateral relationship and our strategic dialogue”.
Rao and Clinton also “talked about the full range of bilateral issues, including the importance of our civil nuclear cooperation and our continued efforts to chart a way forward that will bring India the benefits of American nuclear technology,” she said.
Asked about the status of nuclear cooperation she said the two sides were “still trying to work through the legal and regulatory issues that we have in India”.
They also talked about Iran and the US and EU sanctions, “and how we can create a global community that goes in this direction”, Nuland said.
Afghanistan and the important role that India plays in supporting the New Silk Road initiative and private sector capacity building in Afghanistan also came up. So did Myanmar, she said.
But to her knowledge, Nuland said, the issue of US TV host Jay Leno’s objectionable comments about the Golden Temple did not come up.
“We believe in both freedom of religion and tolerance for all religions,” Nuland said, adding: “We have complete respect for the Golden Temple as a place of worship and obviously for the Sikh people within the Indian nation.”
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)