US, India in for intensive engagement with ‘reenergized strategic partnership’

Washington:US and India are lining up a “pretty ambitious agenda of engagement” to quickly move forward on things discussed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit, including the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal.

US officials briefing the media on the outcome of Modi’s summit meeting with President Barack Obama told reporters that the US was “excited to be moving forward with a reenergized strategic partnership”.

“The assessment on our part is that the prime minister’s visit was extraordinarily successful,” Phil Reiner, senior director for South Asia at the White House National Security Council, said

“I believe it has provided a boost in terms of the vision and focus that we have for our bilateral relations,” he said.

The US “continues to strongly support a prosperous India that plays an important role in the global stage”, Reiner said.

The Modi visit really provided the two leaders an opportunity for discussing the “vision that’s necessary in order to set the framework under which we are going to operate going forward,” he said.

“To just reiterate, I think this visit in some ways went a long ways towards re-energizing and re-launching the bilateral relationship,” echoed Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal.

But as both leaders discussed the “critical point, is that the true test is not the launching of these initiatives,” but their “implementation, and moving forward “in the form of concrete action”.

“And that’s what our focus is going to be as we move forward, is on that action plan for how we turn really exciting initiatives into facts on the ground,” Biswal said.

India and US, she said, “are lining up a pretty ambitious agenda of engagement” over the next nine months so “to move forward on specifically the things that were discussed during this visit.”

“And I think that it’s going to be a fairly intensive period of engagement, but one that we are very much looking forward to,” she said.

Already “we’ve got folks who are firming up travel plans,” Biswal said, to discuss issues ranging from “trade policy forum to reinvigorate our conversations on trade issues” to “issues like the BIT (bilateral investment treaty)”.

Also “whether it’s on the Contact Group on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, whether it’s on higher education and skills, or energy or counterterrorism, we are lining up a pretty ambitious agenda of engagement”.

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