U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is pushing for increased security and nuclear agreements with India, as she visits the subcontinent for a three-day visit.
Mrs. Clinton also called for deeper trade relations and expressed her understanding with India’s concerns about the planned withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan.
Specifically, Clinton said Washington and Delhi should deepen their partnership with respect to trade and investment, security cooperation and civil nuclear technology. While some progress has been made, she added “there is still a great deal more room for our countries to make progress together.”
Referring to last week’s bombings in Mumbai, she noted that the tragedy has driven home how important it is that we get results [with peace and security].
Moreover, following discussions with SM Krishna, the Indian Foreign Minister in Delhi, Clinton stated she is encouraged by the peace talks that India has re-started with Pakistan.
After the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, India suspended peace negotiations with Pakistan and only recently have they commenced new talks.
“We are encouraged by the dialogue occurring between India and Pakistan,” Clinton told reporters in Delhi.
“We think it is the most promising approach, to encourage both sides to build more confidence between them and work to implement the kinds of steps that will demonstrate the improved atmosphere that is so necessary for us to deal with the underlying problem of terrorism.”
The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan will meet in New Delhi later this month, despite last week’s attacks in Mumbai.
Clinton is also meeting with Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
After departing Delhi she will go to Chennai (formerly Madras) in the south, a key area of US investment.
India is currently the US' twelfth-biggest trading partner, with bilateral trade totaling about $50-billion. Washington reportedly wants India to ascend into the top ten list if trade partners.