Odisha News Insight

India, US take ‘Friendship’ to the Next Level

Gift-Obama1In a “breakthrough”, India and the US Sunday agreed to move towards “commercial cooperation” as well as “full implementation” of their landmark civil nuclear deal. The announcement was made by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, brightening the prospects of the deal that was inked during the Manmohan Singh regime in 2008 but never implemented.

“The civil nuclear agreement was the centerpiece of our transformed relationship, which demonstrated new trust. It also created new economic opportunities and expanded our option for clean energy,” Modi said addressing a joint press conference with Obama here.

“I am pleased that six years after we signed our bilateral agreement, we are moving towards commercial cooperation, consistent with our law, our international legal obligations, and technical and commercial viability.”

Describing it as a “breakthrough understanding”, Obama said the two leaders agreed to “advance our civil nuclear cooperation and we are committed to moving toward full implementation”. “It is an important step and shows us how we can work together to elevate our relationship.”

India will resume its dialogue on bilateral investment treaty with the US as the economic growth in both countries is becoming stronger, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here Sunday.

“President (Barack) Obama and I have agreed that a strong and growing economic relationship is vital for the success of our strategic partnership. Economic growth in our two countries is becoming stronger. Our business climate is improving. In addition we have established a number of effective bilateral mechanisms to identify opportunities and also help our business, trade and investments more,” he said at a joint press meeting with Obama after their talks.

“We will also resume our dialogue on bilateral investment treaty. We will also start discussions on social security agreement that is so important for the hundreds and thousands of Indians professionals working in the US,” Modi added.

Obama said: “Our economic partnership has grown and our economic partnership will improve daily lives of our people. We have identified the bilateral investment treaty to discuss further.” “The prime minister has informed me about his missions of economic prosperity to improve the lives of rural Indians with bank accounts, clean water and clean air. We are working on providing assistance to all these,” he added.

Obama welcomed Modi’s recent reforms to ease doing business in India. “Since my last visit here and the address made to your parliament, trade has increased and we are cooperating on key global challenges. In the last few years the trade between our countries have increased by some 60 percent and it is going towards $100 billion and we want to trade even more,” he said.

According to various Indian industry bodies and trade estimates, Indian-American bilateral trade is poised to reach $100 billion mark by 2018. Commerce ministry data shows that India’s exports to the US have risen from $9 billion in 2001-02 to around $39 billion in 2014-15, with the US remaining India’s top export destination throughout the years.

Import-wise, the US has registered a steep rise from $3 billion in 2001-02 to $22 billion in 2014-15. Overall, bilateral trade between India and the US rose five-fold from $12 billion in 2001-02 to $62 billion in 2014-15. During 2000 to 2013, the cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from the US to India were estimated at $14 billion – constituting nearly six percent of the total FDI into India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama had a private tete-e-tete over tea at Hyderabad House, the state guest house, that led the latter to invoke the ‘chai pe charcha’ (chat over tea) concept that Modi made a winning campaign strategy before the April-May 2014 general election that he won with a stunning majority to come to power.The two leaders stepped out into the garden of the stately Hyderabad House, a formerly princely mansion that was built in 1928, and has been the venue for high-level official meetings and summit talks, after a working lunch, and leisurely strolled along the red sandstone pathways, talking animatedly and gesticulating for effect.

Obama thanked Modi for the ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ and said that it should happen more at the White House. The Defence Framework Agreement between India and US is being renewed, and the two countries will take cooperation in this field to a new level, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday.

The prime minister said the two sides have “in principle” agreed to pursue “co-development and co-production of specific advanced defence projects”. “These will help upgrade our domestic defence industry; and expand the manufacturing sector in India. We will also explore cooperation in other areas of advanced defence technologies,” Modi said. Cooperation will also be deepened in the field of maritime security, he added. (IANS)

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