Focusing on five key areas including security cooperation and trade, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday said India and the United States were moving to forge a new and more mature phase of ties, as the 3rd Indo-U.S. Strategic Dialogue kicked off here.

“The strategic fundamentals of our relationship, shared democratic values, economic imperatives and diplomatic priorities, are moving us closer to an understanding and a trust that reflects the convergence of values and interests,” Ms. Clinton said in her remarks to the Dialogue.

“To grow and prosper, we both need open, free, fair and transparent global economic systems; the two countries seek security and stability in South Asia and the Asia-Pacific; and understand the critical importance of a coordinated international response to violent extremism and other shared global challenges,” she said, inaugurating the meeting, which she co-chaired with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

Focused cooperation

“As a result, under President Obama's and Prime Minister Singh's leadership, we are forging a new and more mature phase in our critical bilateral relationship, one defined by near-constant consultation aimed at advancing the interests and values we share and working through the inevitable differences,” Ms. Clinton said.

“There is less need today for the dramatic breakthroughs that marked earlier phases, but more need for steady, focused cooperation,” she said, adding that this kind of weekly, sometimes daily collaboration is not always glamorous, but it is strategically significant.

Ms. Clinton said the effectiveness of the India-U.S partnership hinged on their ability to convert common interests into common actions. “It's not enough just to talk about cooperation on issues ranging from civilian nuclear energy or attracting more U.S. investments to India or defending human rights or promoting women's empowerment.

“We look forward to working to advance negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty, to further reduce barriers to trade and investment in areas like multi-brand retail, and to create hospitable environments for each of our companies to do business in the other's country,” Ms. Clinton said.

As the India and the U.S. deepen and strengthen their bilateral relationship at an unprecedented pace, questions and doubts of this “new and unique” relationship are inevitable, Mr. Krishna has said.

“Sometimes there are questions and doubts about the relationship. They are inevitable in something so unique and new. But I believe that having settled the question of whether India and the U.S. can or should work towards a close relationship, the questions we ask now are how to harness the full potential of that relationship,” Mr. Krishna said.

MoU signed

Meanwhile, U.S. firm Westinghouse Electric and the Nuclear Power Company of India Limited (NPCIL) on Wednesday signed a preliminary pact for an Early Works Agreement (EWA) for installation of the first 1,000 MW American nuclear reactor in India under the historic 2008 Indo-U.S. civil nuclear deal.