U.S. has said that a “business-like and constructive approach” has been set to boost India-U.S. partnership to make it a defining partnerships in the 21st century.
A top Obama Administration official has said the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to India early this week helped continue the momentum and progress in relations.
“All in all, I think it was a very businesslike and constructive set of talks in New Delhi that really continued the momentum and progress in our partnership that the President has said is going to be one of our defining partnership in the 21st century,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said.
Providing details about Ms. Clinton’s India visit, Mr. Blake told reporters that the two countries are not only marching ahead in bilateral relationship, but also collaborating together in global and regional issues.
He said Ms. Clinton and President Barack Obama were looking forward to joining Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the East Asia Summit later this year in Indonesia.
U.S. want to work closely with India and all its allies to help build up the East Asia Summit (EAS) as the premier forum for dealing with a lot of the political and security issues in Asia, he said.
“We wanted to use it to help sort of set a lot of our priorities and lay out a vision for some of these other regional institutions. So at this year’s EAS summit, we want to work with India and others to focus on areas like maritime security, disaster readiness and response and relief and non-proliferation,” he said.
The two countries discussed how both countries like to do more on maritime security, particularly protecting the sea-lanes and combating piracy.
Ms. Clinton welcomed India’s decision to chair the 2012 plenary of the Contact Group on Anti-Piracy. She also reaffirmed U.S.’s very strong interest in India’s growing defence market.
“We think that will provide not only important export opportunities for U.S. companies but also allow new ways for our militaries to work more closely together and of course to share technology,” Mr. Blake said.
“On the second piece, that of trade and investment, both sides remarked on the real dynamism now in our trade and investment partnership. It was remarked that trade has gone up by 30 per cent just this year alone, and investment also is growing very rapidly,” Mr. Blake said.
In terms of the deliverables, the U.S. announced that it had agreed to resume technical discussions on a bilateral investment treaty in August.
“I think that’s important because there’s increasing flows of investments not only by the United States into India, but also by Indian companies into the United States,” he said.
“As the Secretary described in this very important policy speech that she made in Chennai, we see some very important opportunities to work more closely with India: first, to develop a new “silk road” strategy in South and Central Asia to help Afghanistan integrate more fully into its neighbourhood; and secondly, to work more closely with India in the Asia-Pacific,” Mr. Blake said.
He said India has been a large beneficiary of its H-1B visas programme.
“India remains by far the largest beneficiary of H-1B visas. I did a little research on this... In 2010, Indians received 65 per cent of the global quota for H-1B visas, so an overwhelming per cent, almost two-thirds of all H-1Bs issued last year were issued to Indians,” the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia said.
“There were some companies that were engaged in abuse of the programme, and so there were some denials, of course, because of that abuse, but overall, again, I would stress that India has been a huge beneficiary of this programme and, if any country should be, I think, praising the programme and benefiting from the programme, it’s India,” Mr. Blake said.