Ending their first Cabinet-level Strategic Dialogue, India and the US on Friday vowed to consult each other closely on issues like Afghanistan and terrorism, remaining "sensitive" to each other's interests as President Barack Obama announced that he will visit India in November.
"Minister Krishna and Secretary Clinton reiterated their shared goal of advancing security and stability across Asia, in particular, through the emergence of an open, balanced and inclusive architecture of cooperation in the region," said a joint statement issued at the end of their Strategic Dialogue.
Obama, who ignored protocol to attend a reception for External Affairs Minister S M Krishna by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, said US' relations with India were at the highest of priorities for his administration and for "me personally" as President.
He announced that he will visit India in November, saying the country is a rising and responsible global power indispensable to a future American strategy. "So I look forward to advancing our partnership, to experiencing all that India and its people and its incredible ancient culture have to offer," Obama said. As of now his travel dates to India have been tentatively scheduled from November 7 to November 10, a senior administration official told PTI.
At the start of the dialogue, Clinton called India a "rising global power" and that her country was "definitely committed" to considering it for a permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council and pitched for its greater role in meeting challenges in the region like securing Afghanistan.
The joint statement pledged that as strategic partners, India and US would "continue to consult each other closely on regional and global developments and remain sensitive to each other's interests."
The US welcomed India's "leadership" role in helping to shape the rise of a stable, peaceful and prosperous Asia as the two sides promised to expand regular high-level exchanges on regional issues of mutual concern. On the issue of Afghanistan, Clinton and Krishna reiterated their shared interest and commitment to a stable, sovereign, democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan.
They emphasised the importance of a sustained international commitment to Afghanistan that builds local capacities through Afghan-led initiatives.
The two leaders expressed grave concern over the recent incidents in the US and India which they said reminded that terrorism and violent extremism knew no boundaries and continued to threaten global, regional and domestic security.
Recognising the importance of continued cooperation in efforts to defeat terrorism, they reaffirmed the critical principle that no cause or grievance justified terrorism in any form.
"They called for swift and credible steps to eliminate terrorist safe havens and vowed to strengthen global consensus and legal regimes against terrorism, including by working together at the UN toward adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that strengthens our efforts in combating terrorism," the statement said.
The two leaders also committed to continue working together to achieve an early start of negotiations on a multilateral, non-discriminatory and internationally and effectively verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty at the Conference on Disarmament.
"In addition to advancing global security and stability, both recognised that the two countries had enormous opportunities to deepen their cooperation in trade and investment, science and technology, infrastructure investment, environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation, energy security, education, agriculture, food security, healthcare and empowerment of people," the statement said. The two sides plan to hold the next Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi in the first half of 2011. PTI