Hillary concludes strategic visit to India

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton re-affirmed her country’s commitment in eliminating terrorism while pushing forward Indo-US relations during her just concluded visit to India.

The visit, which came as a part of Round 2 of the India-US Strategic Partnership Dialogue, was a high profile affair, with her 25-member delegation accounting for top officials in the US administration.

Her visit assumed importance in the wake of the bomb attacks in Zaveri Bazaar in South Mumbai on July 13.

India has since long urged the US to do more to share intelligence in effective counter-terrorism mechanism.

This thought came in India’s strategic circle after it was revealed that David Headley, who allegedly masterminded the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 (known as 26/11), was a CIA Double Agent working for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He is now in US custody in Chicago.

Expressing her solidarity towards India, Ms Clinton said the US has repeatedly told Pakistan that the perpetrators of 26/11 must be brought to justice.

“We have made it forcefully clear to Pakistan that it has a special obligation to act transparently, fully and urgently. There is a limit to what the US and India can do. But we will press as hard as possible,” she said.

India’s Foreign Minister S M Krishna said that his country expected more from the US to push Pakistan to eliminate its fertile sanctuaries for terrorists.

Apart from terrorism, trade and nuclear cooperation were discussed during the strategic dialogue.

US President Barack Obama has carried forward his predecessor’s (George W Bush) policy on nuclear cooperation with India.

The ‘123 Agreement,’ signed in 2006 and made effective in 2008, allows India to obtain uranium supplies for its nuclear power plants.

India has consistently refused to sign the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty, citing the US, which has not done so either.

An official source told Indian Newslink that India is keen to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and has sought the help of the US in this connection.

Visit to Chennai

Ms Clinton also visited Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu and had an exclusive meeting with Chief Minister Jayalalitha Jayaram.

The meeting assumed significance as the first such between a US Secretary of State and a State Chief Minister. It was also a defining moment in the diplomatic relations between the world’s largest and oldest democracies and the charisma of two women at the helm of affairs.

While in Chennai, Ms Clinton addressed a gathering of students at the Anna Centenary Library in Kotturpuram, a suburb.

She said that the US backed the India’s candidature to the UN Security Council as a Permanent Member.

She said the US saw the 21st Century as the ‘Asian Century,’ in which India has a very prominent position. She said that US is betting on India’s emergence as a great power in Central and South East Asia.

Describing Chennai as “a culturally sophisticated, educated and industrialised City,” she said a number of its technocrats, scientists and intellects are found all over the world.

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