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US Secretary of State on 2-day India visit for economic partnership


08-31-2016 14:50 BJT

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in India for two days of high-level meetings. He said the U.S. and India are witnessing a defining moment in their relationship. Joining Kerry is the U.S. trade secretary, who is hoping to increase bilateral trade.

Kerry and other officials arrived in India for the U.S.-India strategic dialogue, with a lot to discuss, including trade, security and nuclear cooperation.

Officials hope to strengthen security cooperation between India and U.S. and boost bilateral trade to 500 billion dollars – five times its current size. The two countries are also looking to improve their defense relationship after recently signing an agreement in Washington.

After the first meeting, Kerry said there has been progress on the construction of six nuclear reactors by the American company, Westinghouse. The deal has seen some roadblocks because of India’s laws that hold U.S. companies liable for accidents at the plants.

Kerry also addressed the issue of Pakistan and terrorism, and neither side minced words.

He said, “The United States continues to support all efforts to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to justice. And we cannot and we will not make distinctions between good and bad terrorists. Terror is terror, no matter where it comes from.”

India’s minister of exteral affairs Sushma Swaraj said, “We both agreed that nations must not maintain double standards, such as the categorization of good and bad terrorists. They also must not act as sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorist organizations.”

U.S. officials pointed out Pakistan has taken efforts to curb terrorism in the past few months. India and the U.S. stressed the importance of maritime cooperation with an eye on developments in the disputed South China Sea. One expert stressed the importance of strong India-U.S. ties.

Kamar Agha, foreign affairs analyst, said, “We want to emerge as a global hub for production. India wants to emerge as a major service provider center of the globe. The third thing, we want membership of the Security Council. We want investment to come from United States and other western nations to India and we also want to import sophisticated technology.”

In another sign of deepening relations, the two countries signed a deal to share each other’s military bases for repairs and resupply.

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