By Arun Kumar
Washington: Describing India-US relationship as beyond bilateral a regional and a global relationship, a senior Obama administration official has said their strategic partnership would keep growing without a pause for India’s upcoming parliamentary elections.
“I don’t think that there’s any pause. I think everything is moving forward apace,” US assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told foreign reporters Tuesday.
Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh is visiting Washington next week and the two countries have an energy dialogue slated for early next year, noted Biswal when asked about how she saw the partnership evolving after the 2014 elections.
“I think that the relationship will continue to strengthen and deepen and grow, and I think that increasingly it’s not just a bilateral relationship, but it is a regional and a global relationship,” she said.
President Barack Obama, Biswal noted had “most aptly characterized it” as “a partnership and a relationship that is one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century, and that’s because it’s a partnership based on shared values, shared approaches.”
“And we believe that India provides an incredible example of democratic development, and we want to support that example as one that more and more countries ought to follow,” she said.
Biswal also denied that the 2008 landmark India-US civil nuclear deal was in a limbo over India’s tough nuclear liability law though it was not making as “fast and as full” progress as they would like it.
“I think the civ-nuke agreement between the United States and India has been a tremendous and powerful symbol of the relationship,” she said. “And I don’t think it’s in limbo; I think we are making progress,”
But “Is it as fast and as full as we would like it?” Biswal asked and herself answered: “No, I think that there are definitely steps that we think would help move things along.”
The small contract agreement announced during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to USin September “was an important step in the right direction,” she said expressing the “hope that it will continue to pave the way for greater steps.”
“And I think that India has to take its own steps to see what can be done with respect to its liability laws and with respect to the concerns that the private sector has with respect to liability,” Biswal said.
The nature of the relationship between India and US “has so transformed that this (the nuclear deal) is a very important component, but it is one of very many components,” she said.
“We’re pushing ahead on every single front, and we’re working with our Indian colleagues and counterparts on every single front, including civil nuclear cooperation,” she added.