“The Government [of India] is committed to put in place a nuclear liability regime… [and] we look forward to U.S. companies investing in India,” said External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.
Speaking before the start of the United States-India Strategic Dialogue at an event hosted by the U.S.-India Business Council, Mr. Krishna said many companies in the U.S. were in dialogue with Indian companies already, adding, "We would like it to be as robust a partnership as we have both envisioned."
Highlighting some of the key areas of discussion over the coming days, Mr. Krishna said, they would include a wide range of subjects, "from countering terrorism and extremism, advancing nuclear security, working to secure the global commons, seeking to build a developed and cooperative Asia, and succeeding in Afghanistan to dialogues for co-operation in science and technology, research for clean energy and monsoon prediction, health and education, and a dialogue on women’s empowerment".
Mr. Krishna noted that the Dialogue would also be an important occasion for India and the U.S. to reflect on the remarkable journey that the two democracies had embarked upon, and to set their sights on new milestones.
He also touched upon the question of restrictions on high-technology exports to India from the U.S., an issue that industry associations such as the High Technology Cooperation Group have been emphasising over the last few months.
Making a strong pitch for fewer restrictions Mr. Krishna said, “Indian importers have a 100 per cent compliance record when it comes to safeguarding imported technology — we have been implementing the End-Use Verification Agreement with U.S. partners for years now — and have, last year, agreed to a Technical Safeguards Agreement in space co-operation.”
He noted that India also had the End Use Monitoring arrangement for defence acquisitions and had “given a number of written assurances that U.S. technology will enjoy the level of security stipulated by the relevant U.S. laws and not be diverted in contravention of U.S. regulations.”
He said given these assurances and the trust fostered through strategic dialogue, the two countries “should be able to create an environment for a robust two way trade in advanced technology products.”
Mr. Krishna will meet with his counterpart, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other U.S. officials on Thursday as part of the formal Strategic Dialogue discussions. President Barack Obama will also meet with the Indian delegation at the State Department during what is expected to be a star-studded reception for attending dignitaries and select media.