New Delhi, November 25, 2009
India and the United States have underscored the absolute imperative to bring to justice the perpetrators of the November 26, 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur being received by the US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama at a banquet hosted in honour of Indian Prime Minister at White House, Washington on November 24, 2009.
India and the United States have underscored the absolute imperative to bring to justice the perpetrators of the November 26, 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, which claimed more than 180 lives.
"On the eve of its first anniversary, President Obama reiterated the United States’s condemnation of the terrorist attack in Mumbai in November 2008," Mr Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a Joint Statement between them after their talks in the White House in Washington on Tuesday.
The two leaders recognised that the India-US partnership was indispensable for global peace and security and said that, in this context, the interests of both countries were best advanced through the values mirrored in their societies.
They acknowledged the common threat that international terrorism poses to regional and global security. They condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and declared that there could be no justification for terrorism anywhere.
The two leaders expressed their grave concern about the threat posed by terrorism and violent extremists emanating from India's neighborhood, whose impact is felt beyond the region. The two leaders agreed that resolute and credible steps must be taken to eliminate safe havens and sanctuaries that provide shelter to terrorists and their activities. These undermine security and stability in the region and around the world.
The statement said the two leaders vowed to redouble their efforts to deal effectively with terrorism, while protecting their countries’ common ideals and shared values and committed themselves to strengthening global consensus and legal regimes against terrorism. They decided on a Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative to expand collaboration on counterterrorism, information sharing, and capacity building.
The two leaders reiterated their shared interest in the stability, development and independence of Afghanistan and in the defeat of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
According to the statement, President Obama appreciated India’s role in reconstruction and rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan. The two leaders agreed to enhance their respective efforts in this direction.
The two leaders committed to continue pursuing mutually beneficial defence cooperation through the existing security dialogue, service-level exchanges, defence exercises and trade and technology transfer and collaboration. They recognised the scope for cooperation in the areas of non-traditional threats to security, peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster relief, and maritime security and protecting sea lanes of communication. They agreed to expedite necessary arrangements to facilitate these activities.
The two leaders agreed that strengthening high technology trade between their countries is in the spirit of their strategic dialogue and partnership. They reiterated their shared commitment to technology security and that it is in their mutual interest to invigorate this area of their partnership.
The statement said Dr Singh and Mr Obama had reaffirmed the global strategic partnership between their two countries and had launched a new phase in this partnership today.
They commended the deepening bilateral cooperation between the world's two largest democracies across a broad spectrum of human endeavours and recognised that the common ideals and complementary strengths of the two countries today provided a foundation for addressing the global challenges of the 21sr century.
Mr Obama stated that the US looked forward to a stable and prosperous India playing an increasingly important role in world affairs.
The joint statement also touched upon the cooperation between the two countries in areas such as energy security, food security, climate change, elimination of poverty, ensuring sustainable development and a clean energy future. They agreed to enter into a Green Partnership to address these global challenges.
The two leaders reaffirmed their intention to promote the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in accordance with the Bali Action Plan. Recognizing their special role in promoting a successful and substantive outcome at the UNFCCC 15th Conference of Parties at Copenhagen in December, 2009, they reaffirmed their intention to work together bilaterally and with all other countries for an agreed outcome at that meeting.
The two leaders also affirmed that the Copenhagen outcome must be comprehensive and cover mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology, and in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, it should reflect emission reduction targets of developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries. There should be full transparency through appropriate processes as to the implementation of aforesaid mitigation actions. The outcome should further reflect the need for substantially scaled-up financial resources to support mitigation and adaptation in developing countries, in particular, for the poorest and most vulnerable. It should also include measures for promoting technology development, dissemination and transfer and capacity building, including consideration of a centre or a network of centres to support and stimulate climate innovation. India and the United States, consistent with their national circumstances, resolved to take significant national mitigation actions that will strengthen the world's ability to combat climate change. They resolved to stand by these commitments.
They agreed to collaborate in the application of their space technology and related scientific capabilities in outer space and for development purposes, including in the field of agriculture.
The two leaders reiterated their intention to realize the full potential of the India-U.S. Agreement for Cooperation concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy through the implementation of its provisions. They agreed to expedite U.S. firms' participation in the implementation of this agreement.
The Joint Statement also talked about stimulating the global economic revival, and announced their intention to develop a Framework for Cooperation on Trade and Investment. This Framework is expected to foster an environment conducive to technological innovation and collaboration, promote inclusive growth and job creation, and support opportunities for increased trade and investment - including for small and medium-sized enterprises. They agreed to launch the U.S.-India Financial and Economic Partnership to strengthen engagement on economic, financial, and investment-related issues.
The two leaders welcomed the progress achieved in the discussions on a Bilateral Investment Treaty and pledged to take further initiatives that would contribute to creating a more conducive environment for investment flows.
They recognized the contribution of the business and industrial sectors of both countries in this regard and called upon the India-U.S. CEOs Forum to identify new directions in the India-U.S. economic relationship.
Other areas covered by the statement included cooperation in the fields of education and health.
Overall, the two leaders recognised that the India-US relationship was important for managing the challenges the world will face in the 21st centry and underscored the compelling need to put in place global institutions which are both inclusive and effective to meet present and future challenges.
They welcomed the emergence of the G-20 as a premier forum to deal with international economic issues. The two leaders recognized the scope for their countries to increase cooperation in peacekeeping, development and the promotion of essential human freedoms. They committed themselves to achieving genuine reform of the United Nations including in its Security Council in a manner that reflects the contemporary realities of the 21st century and thereby enhances its ability to carry out its mandate as a representative, credible and effective forum for meeting the challenges of the new century.
Earlier, addressing a joint press conference at the White House after their talks, Mr Obama said Pakistan had an enormously important role in the security of South Asia region by making sure that the extremist organisations that often operate out of its territories are dealt with effectively.
"And we've seen some progress. The work that the Pakistan military is doing in the Swat Valley in west -- in south Waziristan all indicates the degree to which they are beginning to recognize that extremism, even if initially directed to the outside, can ultimately also have an adverse impact on their security internally," Mr Obama said.
Dr Singh said he and President Obama had a very useful and productive exchange of views relating to security, peace and counter-terrorism. He said he was very satisfied with the outcome of their discussions.
He also said that, as far as the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement was concerned, Mr Obama had re-affirmed that it was the common resolve of the two governments to operationalise the deal as early as possible.
"There are a few 'i's' and 't's' which have to be crossed -- and I am confident and I have the assurance of the President that that process can be completed without much further loss of time," he said.
Mr Obama said that it was obvious that there were historic conflicts between India and Pakistan but it was not the place of the US to try to, from outside, resolve all those conflicts. On the other hand, the US wanted to be encouraging of ways in which both India and Pakistan could feel secure, and focus on the development of their own countries and their own people, he said.
"With respect to the relationship between the United States and Pakistan's military, I think that there have probably been times in the past in which we were so single-mindedly focused just on military assistance in Pakistan that we didn't think more broadly about how to encourage and develop the kinds of civil society in Pakistan that would make a difference in the lives of people day to day," he remarked.
He hoped that, over time, there would be further clarity and further cooperation between all the parties and all peoples of goodwill in the region to eradicate terrorist activity, to eradicate the kind of violent extremist activity that has been seen in Pakistan. "I think that will benefit the peoples of Pakistan and India and the world community as well," he said.
In his opening remarks at the joint press conference, Mr Obama said the fact that Dr Singh's was the first official state visit of his presidency reflected America's admiration for the Prime Minister's leadersip, the deep bonds between the peoples of the two countries and the historic opportunity they had to strengthen and broaden the partnership between the two nations.
"India today is a rising and responsible global power. In Asia, Indian leadership is expanding prosperity and the security across the region. And the United States welcomes and encourages India's leadership role in helping to shape the rise of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Asia.
"Beyond Asia, as the world's largest multiethnic democracy, as one of the world's fastest-growing economies, and as a member of the G20, India will play a pivotal role in meeting the major challenges we face today. And this includes my top economic priority, creating good jobs with good wages for the American people," he said.
Mr Obama said he believed the relationship between the US and India would be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century and Dr Singh's visit underscored the strengthening of that partnership, which he hoped would continue throughout his presidency. "That's why I've made it a priority to broaden the cooperation between our nations," he remarked.
He said his administration's commitment to India could be seen in the new strategic dialogue between the two countries, which addresses the full range of challenges and opportunities before them.
"And our commitment to India can be seen in my personal partnership with Prime Minister Singh. We've worked together on economic matters at our G20 summits in London and Pittsburgh, as well as L'Aquila. I consider him a wise leader who has helped unleash India's extraordinary economic growth. He is a man of honesty and integrity. I respect him and I trust him, and I have happily accepted his gracious invitation to visit India next year," he said.
The US President said the two sides had agreed to strengthen the economic recovery and expand trade and investment so that they could create jobs for both their peoples.
He noted that Indian investment in America was creating and sustaining jobs across the US. The US is India's largest trading and investment partner and there is significant balance in their trading relationships, he said. He said that, to sustain this momentum, the two sides were creating new initiatives to promote trade, investment and technology cooperation, especially among their small and medium-sized businesses.
He said he had reaffirmed to Dr Singh his administration's commitment to fully implement the nuclear deal, which would increase American exports and create jobs in both countries.
They agreed to move forward with their commitments at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh to pursue balanced growth while ensuring that emerging economies like India have a greater voice in shaping the international financial architecture.
He said they had made progress in confronting climate change and commended the Prime Minister for India's leadership in areas like green buildings and energy efficiency. He said the two sides had , agreed to a series of important new efforts: a clean energy initiative that will create jobs and improve people's access to cleaner, more affordable energy; a green partnership to reduce poverty through sustainable and equitable development; and an historic effort to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels.
"With just two weeks until the beginning of Copenhagen, it's also essential that all countries do what is necessary to reach a strong operational agreement that will confront the threat of climate change while serving as a stepping-stone to a legally binding treaty," he said.
Mr Obama said he and Dr Singh had reaffirmed that an agreement in Copenhagen should be comprehensive and cover all the issues under negotiation.
"We resolved to take significant national mitigation actions that will strengthen the world's ability to combat climate change. We agreed to stand by these commitments with full transparency through appropriate processes as to their implementation. All this builds on the progress that we made in Beijing, and it takes us one step closer to a successful outcome in Copenhagen," he said.
The US President said he and Dr Singh had also agreed to deepen their cooperation against transnational threats. "The American people join our Indian friends in remembering the horrific attacks in Mumbai one year ago this week. To prevent future attacks, we agreed that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies will work even closer, including sharing more information. We discussed my review of our policy in Afghanistan, and I thanked Prime Minister Singh for India's substantial contributions to the Afghan people," he said.
Mr Obama welcomed Dr Singh's support for the non-proliferation agenda that he had laid out in Prague, and looked forward to India's participation in the nuclear security summit next year, as well as India's participation as a full partner in the shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons.
"Now, part of that vision is working together to ensure that all nations, including Iran and South -- North Korea, live up to their international obligations," he said.
Mr Obama said the two sides agreed to expand the educational exchanges that will fuel their knowledge-based economies.
They decided to "dramatically" expand the Fulbright-Nehru program that brings students and scholars from both countries together, especially in science and technology.
They also decided to increase ties and exchanges between their universities and community colleges as part of "a new Obama-Singh -- or Singh-Obama" -- 21st Century Knowledge Initiative.
"We think it's appropriately named," he quipped.
Mr Obama said that, to advance their historic food security initiative, American and Indian researches would collaborate to improve agricultural output and reduce hunger -- not only in India, where enormous strides have been made, but around the world. "India has much to teach the developing world in terms of achieving food sufficiency," he remarked.
He said American Centres for Disease Control and Prevention would partner with their Indian counterparts to create a new disease detection centre in India to combat infectious diseases and promote global health.
"This is the concrete progress made today across a whole range of issues to create jobs, opportunity and security for our people. As a result, I believe the relationship between our two countries has never been stronger -- a reminder that it will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century," he said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur being received by the US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama at a banquet hosted in honour of Indian Prime Minister at White House, Washington on November 24, 2009.
President and Ms Michelle Obama later hosted Dr Singh and Ms Gursharan Kaur at the first state dinner of his presidency. "It will be another opportunity to convey to the Prime Minister and the people of India, as India assumes its rightful place as a global leader in this century, that you will have no better friend and partner than the United States of America," he added.
Dr Singh said that when India and the US met, it was a moment to celebrate the values of democracy, pluralism, liberty and freedom. "Today we have done that and much more," he observed.
He said the two leaders had, in their discussions, reaffirmed the importance of the bilateral relationship between the two countries and decided on future steps to enhance their strategic partnership.
"We have agreed to further intensify our trade, investment, and economic cooperation in a way that creates jobs and prosperity in both our two countries and stimulates global economic recovery," he said.
Dr Singh expressed admiration for the leadership that President Obama had provided to stimulate and guide the G-20 process. He said they had decided to give a fresh impetus to collaboration in the fields of education, agriculture and health. He said the two countries would deepen their ongoing cooperation in frontier areas of science and technology, nuclear power and space. "This will open new opportunities for our universities and laboratories, and create human capital to meet the global needs of the future," he said.
The Prime Minister said he and Mr Obama had had a very constructive exchange of views on strategic issues. "Our defence cooperation is progressing well. We agreed on the early and full implementation of our Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. Our strategic partnership should facilitate transfer of high technologies to India. The lifting of U.S. export controls on high technology exports to India will open vast opportunities for giant research and development efforts. It will enable U.S. industry to benefit from the rapid economic and technological transformation that is now underway in our country," he said.
Referring to the Copenhagen meeting on Climate Change in December, he said he and Mr Obama had agreed on the need for a substantive and comprehensive outcome, which would cover mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology. "We reaffirmed our intention to work to this end bilaterally and with all other countries," he said.
Dr Singh said India welcomed President Obama's commitment to a major programme for promotion of renewable energy. He drew Mr Obama's attention to India's own ambitious national action plan on climate change, which has eight national missions covering both mitigation and adaptation.
"Just as we partnered each other in the shaping of the knowledge economy, we have the opportunity today to become partners in developing the green economy of the future. I underlined India's desire to benefit from clean and energy-efficient technologies from the United States. Our partnership will contribute to global efforts to combat climate change and achieve energy security," he said.
Dr Singh said the two leaders had a detailed discussion on important regional and global issues.
"We agreed that the Indo-U.S. partnership was important for addressing the challenges of an increasingly interdependent world that we live in. The global economic crisis has brought home the fact that our prosperity is interlinked," he said.
"Our dialogue covered the need to have an open and inclusive architecture in the Asia Pacific regions. It is important for the international community to sustain its engagement in Afghanistan, to help its emergence as a modern state," he said.
"The focus -- the forces of terrorism in our region pose a grave threat to the entire civilized world and have to be defeated. President Obama and I have decided to strengthen our cooperation in the area of counterterrorism," he said.
Dr Singh said India welcomed the renewed international interest in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, pointing out that India had been a consistent advocate of a world free of nuclear weapons. He said India would work with the United States and other countries for the success of the nuclear security summit, which President Obama is hosting next April.
"In our discussions today, there was a meeting of minds on the future direction of our relations. I was deeply impressed by President Obama's strong commitment to the India-U.S. strategic partnership and by the breadth of his vision for global peace and prosperity," he said.
Dr Singh said he had invited President Obama to visit India. "A very warm welcome awaits him, his gracious wife and his two daughters," he added.
In reply to a question, Mr Obama said he thought the US and India were natural allies, not just around counter-terrorism issues but on a whole host of issues.
"As we discussed earlier, we're the world's two largest democracies. We have a range of shared values and ideals. We're both entrepreneurial societies. We're both multiethnic societies. We are societies that believe in human rights and core freedoms that are enshrined in our founding documents.
"And one of the things that I think makes us such strong allies is the people-to-people contact. It's one thing for leaders to have exchanges like this one, and that's very important, obviously. But the incredible contributions that Indian Americans have made to the growth of our country and the degree to which they are woven into the very fabric of our society, the fact that very few Indians don't have some family member somewhere who has a connection to the United States -- that kind of exchange strengthens and deepens the bonds between our two countries in a profound way.
"Now, with respect to security issues in the region, the Prime Minister and I -- Prime Minister Singh and I had extensive discussions about that. I think we both recognize that our core goal is to achieve peace and security for all peoples in the region, not just one country or the other. And one of the things I admire most about Prime Minister Singh is that I think at his core he is a man of peace," he added.
Photos: Courtesy: Press Information Bureau