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Current Events

President Bush's visit to India


The Singh-Bush Joint Statement

March 02, 2006 14:21 IST
Last Updated: March 02, 2006 15:30 IST

The following is the text of the joint statement released after the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W Bush in New Delhi on March 2:

President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed satisfaction with the great progress the United States and India have made in advancing our strategic partnership to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. Both our countries are linked by a deep commitment to freedom and democracy; a celebration of national diversity, human creativity and innovation; a quest to expand prosperity and economic opportunity worldwide; and a desire to increase mutual security against the common threats posed by intolerance, terrorism, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The successful transformation of the U.S.-India relationship will have a decisive and positive influence on the future international system as it evolves in this new century.

Reviewing the progress made in deepening the global partnership between the United States and India since their Joint Statement of July 18, 2005, the President and the Prime Minister reaffirm their commitment to expand even further the growing ties between their two countries. Consistent with this objective, the two leaders wish to highlight efforts the United States and India are making together in the following areas, where they have:

For economic prosperity and trade

(1) Agreed to intensify efforts to develop a bilateral business climate supportive of trade and investment by:

1. Welcoming the report of the US-India CEO Forum, agreeing to consider its recommendations aimed at substantially broadening our bilateral economic relations, and directing the Chairs of the Indo-U.S. Economic Dialogue to follow up expeditiously with the CEO Forum;

2. Endorsing the efforts of the US-India Trade Policy Forum to reduce barriers to trade and investment with the goal of doubling bilateral trade in three years;

3. Agreeing to advance mutually beneficial bilateral trade and investment flows by holding a high-level public-private investment summit in 2006, continuing efforts to facilitate and promote foreign direct investment and eliminate impediments to it, and enhancing bilateral consultations on various issues including tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods and services, and preventing the illicit use of the financial system.

(2) Sought to expand cooperation in agriculture by:

1. Launching the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture with a three-year financial commitment to link our universities, technical institutions, and businesses to support agriculture education, joint research, and capacity building projects including in the area of biotechnology.

2. Endorsing an agreed work plan to promote bilateral trade in agriculture through agreements that: lay out a path to open the US market to Indian mangoes, recognize India as having the authority to certify that shipments of Indian products to the United States meet USDA organic standards, and provide for discussions on current regulations affecting trade in fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry and dairy, and almonds.

(3) Reaffirmed their shared commitment to completing the WTO Doha Development Agenda (DDA) before the end of 2006, and agreed to work together to help achieve this outcome.

For energy security and a clean environment

(1) Welcomed the successful completion of discussions on India's separation plan and looked forward to the full implementation of the commitments in the July 18, 2005 Joint Statement on nuclear cooperation. This historic accomplishment will permit our countries to move forward towards our common objective of full civil nuclear energy cooperation between India and the United States and between India and the international community as a whole.

(2) Welcomed the participation of India in the ITER initiative on fusion energy as an important further step towards the common goal of full nuclear energy cooperation.

(3) Agreed on India's participation in FutureGen, an international public-private partnership to develop new, commercially viable technology for a clean coal near-zero emission power project. India will contribute funding to the project and participate in the Government Steering Committee of this initiative.

(4) Welcomed the creation of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which will enable India and the US to work together with other countries in the region to pursue sustainable development and meet increased energy needs while addressing concerns of energy security and climate change. The Partnership will collaborate to promote the development, diffusion, deployment and transfer of cleaner, cost-effective and more efficient technologies and practices.

(5) Welcomed India's interest in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, an international marine research endeavor that will contribute to long-term energy solutions such as gas hydrates.

(6) Noting the positive cooperation under the Indo-US Energy Dialogue, highlighted plans to hold joint conferences on topics such as energy efficiency and natural gas, to conduct study missions on renewable energy, to establish a clearing house in India for coal-bed methane/coal-mine methane, and to exchange energy market information.

For innovation and the knowledge economy

(1) Emphasizing the importance of knowledge partnerships, announced the establishment of a Bi-National Science and Technology Commission which the US and India will co-fund. It will generate collaborative partnerships in science and technology and promote industrial research and development.

(2) Agreed that the United States and India would work together to promote innovation, creativity and technological advancement by providing a vibrant intellectual property rights regime, and to cooperate in the field of intellectual property rights to include capacity building activities, human resource development and public awareness programs.

(3) Agreed to continue exploring further cooperation in civil space, including areas such as space exploration, satellite navigation, and earth science. The United States and India committed to move forward with agreements that will permit the launch of US satellites and satellites containing US components by Indian space launch vehicles, opening up new opportunities for commercial space cooperation between the two countries.

(4) Welcomed the inclusion of two US instruments in the Indian lunar mission Chandrayaan-1. They noted that memoranda of understanding to be signed by ISRO and NASA would be significant steps forward in this area.

(5) Welcomed the US Department of Commerce's plan to create a license exception for items that would otherwise require an export license to end-users in India engaged solely in civilian activities.

For global safety and security

(1) Noted the enhanced counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries and stressed that terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought and rooted out in every part of the world.

(2) Welcomed the increased cooperation between the United States and India in the defense area, since the New Framework for the US-India Defence Relationship was signed on June 28, 2005, as evidenced by successful joint exercises, expanded defence cooperation and information sharing, and greater opportunities to jointly develop technologies and address security and humanitarian issues.

(3) Reaffirmed their commitment to the protection of the free flow of commerce and to the safety of navigation, and agreed to the conclusion of a Maritime Cooperation Framework to enhance security in the maritime domain, to prevent piracy and other transnational crimes at sea, carry out search and rescue operations, combat marine pollution, respond to natural disasters, address emergent threats and enhance cooperative capabilities, including through logistics support. Both sides are working to finalize a Logistics Support Agreement at the earliest.

(4) Welcomed India's intention to join the Container Security Initiative aimed at making global maritime trade and infrastructure more secure and reducing the risk of shipping containers being used to conceal weapons of mass destruction.

(5) Reiterated their commitment to international efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

(6) Building on the July 2005 Disaster Relief Initiative, noted the important disaster management cooperation and their improved capabilities to respond to disaster situations.

(7) Recognized the importance of capacity building in cyber security and greater cooperation to secure their growing electronic interdependencies, including to protect electronic transactions and critical infrastructure from cybercrime, terrorism and other malicious threats.

Deepening democracy and meeting international challenges

(1) Recalled their joint launch of the UN Democracy Fund in September 2005 and offered the experience and expertise of both Governments for capacity building, training and exchanges to third countries that request such assistance to strengthen democratic institutions.

(2) Welcomed the decision of India and the United States to designate a representative to the Government Advisory Board of the International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT) located in Budapest to facilitate cooperative activities with ICDT.

(3) Agreed that the Virtual Coordination and Information Centres set up in September 2005 should be further strengthened and a bilateral meeting aimed at developing a practical programme for utilization of its services be held soon.

(4) Expressed satisfaction at the expedited USFDA drug approval processes that strengthen the combat against HIV/AIDS at the global level and encourage greater corporate participation to meet this challenge, including the establishment of the Indo-U.S. Corporate Fund for HIV/AIDS.

(5) Agreed to expand bilateral efforts and continue cooperation in the area of medical research and strengthen technical capacity in food and drug regulation in India as well as address the concern on avian influenza, including agreement to reach out to the private sector, develop regional communications strategies, and plan an in-region containment and response exercise. The President welcomed India's offer to host the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza meeting in 2007.

(6) Welcomed India's membership in the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking, a partnership through which we will collaborate in the fight against illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife parts; we also welcome the opportunity to strengthen longstanding work together on the conservation of wildlife through cooperation on park management and ecotourism.

President Bush thanked Prime Minister Singh and the people of India for the warmth of their reception and the generosity of their hospitality.

New Delhi, March 2, 2006

President Discusses Strong U.S.-India Partnership in New Delhi, India


"At the heart of a civilization that helped give the world mathematics, cutting-edge businesses now give us the technology of tomorrow. In the birthplace of great religions, a billion souls of varied faiths now live side-by-side in freedom and peace. (Applause.) When you come to India in the 21st century, you’re inspired by the past, and you can see the future. "

International reaction generally positive to Indo-US Nuclear deal

India Civil Nuclear Cooperation: Responding to Critics

A furor over US visas


US Blanket for India's Nuclear Winter Chills

The nuclear deal inked by the United States and India on Thursday was a doozy. In one stroke, Washington ended India's pariah status and drove a stake through the heart of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. But it still may have been the right thing to do.

And indeed, on his Thursday trip to India, Bush came bearing gifts; but the ones he scattered were much more substantial than flower petals. After talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the two leaders announced an agreement whereby the United States would provide the rapidly growing economic giant India with technological assistance for its civilian nuclear power program. Far more important than the details of the deal, however, is the break with three decades of US opprobrium directed at the Indian nuclear program. India, not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, first tested a nuclear weapon in May 1974 -- which the country then called a "peaceful nuclear explosion" -- and then in 1998, it set off five nuclear devices in quick succession officially joining the club of nuclear armed nations. When it comes to nuclear-related technology, the United States has held India at arms length since the 1974 test.

But by signing a nuclear agreement with India, the United States has essentially ended India's days as a nuclear pariah and shepherded the country into the club.
It remains unclear whether the US Congress will agree to the deal. Approval from the 44-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) -- a group of nations which produce nuclear-related technology but have agreed not to deal with states interested in producing nuclear weapons -- may likewise be difficult. The NSG was founded in 1975 in response to India's 1974 test. German commentators on Friday are wary of the Indian-US deal.

The Financial Times Deutschland leads off the editorial brow-wrinkling with a commentary beginning: "A pariah becomes socially acceptable." The move to accept India into the club of nuclear-armed states, the paper writes, "has a bitter odor of opportunism and hypocrisy, because for decades India has consciously opposed" the world nuclear order and ignored global criticism of its nuclear weapons program.

The paper also publishes a brief interview with Oliver Meier of the US-based Arms Control Association. "The deal is a perfect example of the double standards of the Bush administration, which considers itself above global norms and treaties," Meier says. "The contradiction -- demanding Iran abandon its program on the one hand while granting India unconditional privileges on the other -- is a situation Tehran is already taking advantage of."

But the paper's editorial doesn't take long to come to a more nuanced position. Even given the seeming hypocrisy, bringing India in out of the nuclear winter was the right thing to do. The Non-Proliferation Treaty, after all, divides the world into three, not two. The haves, the have-nots, and the non-signatories. Among the non-signatories, one has to make a distinction: "Questions about intentions and reliability of a given country have to be asked." After developing its bomb, India has never passed technology along to others. "The nuclear deal now struck rewards that and could ensure that it stays that way. It makes the world safer."

The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung takes a broader view. As much as Europe would like to think it is one of the world's power poles, the growing power centers are actually India and China. And the two are also growing together with some €10 billion in annual trade between them. This is the background to the US-India nuclear deal. "America's strategists have long realized that the US doesn't necessarily have to be among the winners of the Pacific Century. America's power and influence is in danger, and Washington has reacted as big powers have always reacted: they build alliances, create buffers, and introduce new rules of the game." That, at least, is what Bush was trying to do with the India deal. But, the paper argues, he failed. In ignoring the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Bush justifies India's nuclear program and thus "calls the US's political and moral leadership in Asia into question and achieves the opposite of what he wanted."

The leftist Die Tageszeitung is likewise willing to grant the geo-political realities that led to the treaty: a more-or-less responsible India which has never, unlike nuclear neighbor Pakistan, passed on nuclear technology to other states.
But, at the end of the day, the Bush-Singh deal further damages the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Before the deal, none of the signatories were living up to the treaty's demands that nuclear states disarm. Now, a non-signatory has been welcomed to the club. "Tehran and Pyongyang will come to the conclusion that, if they are able to ... acquire atomic weapons, Washington cannot avoid being forced to accept such a reality as it has with India."

Finally, the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung seems content not to make any bold statements on Friday as to exactly how the new deal will affect peace on Earth. It too spends a few paragraphs in its front page editorial pointing out the global implications of the treaty -- and points out that India, because it is a democracy, is a natural partner for the US. But granting India nuclear recognition is, "given the current conflict over the Iranian nuclear program, a dubious example." The paper sees potential for the US-India partnership, though. It's an alliance that could very well solidify the two countries' leadership in Asia.

-- Charles Hawley
12:30 p.m. CET

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