Barack Obama said that he had reaffirmed to Manmohan Singh that his administration's “commitment to fully implement the civil nuclear agreement” which he said would “increase American exports and create jobs in both countries.”

The summit meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President Barack Obama, taking place on a grey and rainy day at the White House, ended on an optimistic note with the U.S. President reaffirming that he believed that the relationship between the two countries was one of the “defining partnerships of the 21st century” and that the U.S. welcomes India’s leadership role in Asia.

There were indications however evidenced in part by the delay in the finalisation of the joint statement that is customarily produced after the delegation talks, and the delayed start of the press conference by the two leaders, that there were still some issues to be resolved in the negotiations. It also seemed that the expected agreement on fuel reprocessing was not coming through in this visit, while both sides once again swore their commitment to its full implementation.

But there was no doubting the cordiality and the determination of both sides to keep the bilateral relationship in high gear. Mr. Obama said that he had reaffirmed to the Prime Minister his administration’s “commitment to fully implement the U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement” which he said would “increase American exports and create jobs in both countries.” In his remarks at the press conference, Dr. Singh also said, “we agreed on the early and full implementation of our civil nuclear cooperation agreement.” He added that “our strategic partnership should facilitate transfer of high technologies to India”.

Delay in finalising reprocessing accord

Sources said that the delay in finalising a reprocessing agreement did not mean anything and that this would come through soon if not during this visit. Mr. Obama was lavish in his praise for India’s leadership role in Asia which he said had expanded peace and security across the region. Calling India a “rising and responsible global power,” he said that his commitment to India could be seen in his personal partnership with Dr. Singh and that they had worked together on economic matters at various G20 summits.

Making a specific reference to the “horrific attacks in Mumbai one year ago this week,” Mr. Obama said that to prevent future attacks, the two sides had agreed that the law enforcement and intelligence agencies will work even closer.

India and the United States have agreed, according to Dr. Singh, that the meeting on climate change at Copenhagen to take place in December should have a “substantive and comprehensive outcome that would cover mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology.” The Prime Minister said that the two countries should become partners in developing the “green economy” and that India wanted to benefit from clean and energy efficient technologies from the U.S. For his part, Mr. Obama said that it was essential that all countries do whatever necessary to reach “a strong operational agreement” that would serve as a “stepping stone to a legally binding treaty” and to that end, the Prime Minister and he had made “important progress.”

Dr. Singh said that India would work with the U.S. for the success of the Nuclear Security Summit which the U.S. President is hosting next April.

In what appears to be an outflow from Mr. Obama’s traditional views on the dangers of outsourcing American jobs, the U.S. President said that the partnership envisaged was also in the context of his top economic priority -- “creating good jobs with good wages for the American people.” The two leaders also agreed to step up the educational exchanges including “dramatically expanding the Fulbright-Nehru program.”

PTI story adds

India, US sign six MoUs

India and the US signed a MoU on counter-terrorism and five other pacts as they ventured to chart their ties as “one of the defining relations” in the 21st century in which India will have a leadership role in the region and the world.

Besides the Memorandum of Understanding on ‘Advancing Global Security and Countering Terrorism’, the two sides signed pacts covering education and development, health cooperation, economic trade and agriculture, and green partnerships.

The pacts were signed during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the first foreign leader to be hosted as the State Guest under the 10-month-old Obama Administration.

Under the MoU on ‘Advancing Global Security and Counter Terrorism’, the two sides committed to redouble their collective efforts to deal effectively with terrorism, while protecting their countries’ common ideals and shared values.

They also committed themselves to strengthening global consensus and legal regimes against terrorism.

Under the MoU, they supported an early start of negotiations on a multilateral, non-discriminatory and internationally verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

The two leaders looked forward to the April 2010 Nuclear Security Summit and agreed to consult each other regularly.

They affirmed their commitment to work together to prevent the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction- and missile-related technology and to realize their shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.

With an aim of enhancing US-India cooperation on education and development, the two sides launched the Singh-Obama 21st Century Knowledge Initiative which will provide USD 10 million in combined funding to increase university linkages and support junior faculty development between US and Indian universities.

The two sides also launched “Green Partnership” to strengthen US-India cooperation on clean energy, climate change, and food security, reflecting their commitment to taking vigorous action to fight climate change.

They also announced launch of an Indo-US Clean Energy Research and Deployment Initiative, which is supported by US and Indian government funding and private sector contributions.

This new Initiative will include a Joint Research Center operating in both the United States and India to foster innovation and joint efforts to accelerate deployment of clean energy technologies. The Initiative will facilitate joint research, scientific exchanges, and sharing of proven innovation and deployment policies.