'India awaits Obama's visit with great hope'
People of India are looking United States President Barack Obama's visit with great hope and optimism, and this will herald a new era of relationship between the two nations, Indian Ambassador to the US has said.
"We look forward to President Obama's visit to India next month with great hope and optimism and as an opportunity at highest political level to steer our relationship onto a new higher plane," said Meera Shankar, Indian envoy to the US.
Addressing students of George Washington University, Shankar said the basic fundamentals of India-US relations, regardless of any minor issue-specific differences, give confidence that the strategic dimension of this relationship would truly manifest itself in practical terms through joint efforts in all areas of cooperation, including at the international level.
"Both countries have the strong political will to move in this direction. We share common interests and concerns, and jointly seek to build our relationship as a long-term global partnership. Both countries have expressed conviction that enduring bilateral relations do not serve us only bilaterally, but also in meaningfully addressing new global threats and challenges," she said on Tuesday.
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Image: Students reach out to kiss a cutout of Obama at the American Centre in New Delhi
It promises to be a landmark visit
Shankar said Obama visit to India in November promises to be a landmark visit.
"We look forward to not only consolidating the enormous strides that we have taken in our relationship in recent years but also to set directions and lay out a vision for the future course of our strategic partnership," she had said in her speech, provided by Indian Embassy in Washington.
"India and the US hold regular and candid dialogue on Afghanistan and Pakistan; we exchange views and coordinate approaches on other developments in South Asia; we have commenced a dialogue on East Asia and the evolving Asian economic and security architecture. We discuss how we can work together for development of Africa," she said.
In the larger Asian and global context, both the US and India have begun exploratory discussions on how they can work together to ensure the safety of the Global Commons -- including maritime security and protecting the domains of space and cyber space, Shankar said.
New opportunities lie ahead
Nothing was a greater symbol and instrument of transformation in India-US relations than the civil nuclear agreement, she said adding that it not only addressed an issue, which had constrained the full potential of the bilateral relationship but also created new economic opportunities to cooperate in the areas of civil nuclear energy, energy security, climate change and nuclear proliferation.
"India has identified two sites for building nuclear reactors in cooperation with US companies and we hope to commence commercial negotiations shortly. A new dimension is our Space cooperation with India's first moon mission, Chandrayaan 1, carrying a NASA payload, which detected the existence of water on the moon.
"There are good prospects for expanding this cooperation in other areas such as exchange of data for weather prediction and climate change, space exploration and space flights," she said.
'India is willing to assume its responsibility'
Seeking US help in securing Permanent Membership of the UN Security Council, Shankar argued the need for the two countries to work together to reform the international architecture of global governance.
"We are already moving towards more representative mechanisms for global financial and economic management, but we need to reform the institutions that deal with political and security challenges, including the UN Security Council for which there is growing support," she said.
"This would not only enhance their legitimacy but also impact positively on the efficacy of these institutions. As a country of over a billion people, with one of the fastest growing economies and as a democratic nation, India is willing to assume its responsibility to meet the global challenges of our times," Shankar said.