Good evening, and welcome to the joint press interaction. The external affairs minister will be making an opening statement. Next, the U.S. Secretary of State will be making a statement. Sir, the floor is yours.FOREIGN MINISTER KRISHNA:
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, it’s my pleasure to welcome Her Excellency, Secretary of State of the United States of America, Madame Hillary Clinton, and distinguished members of her delegation.
Secretary Clinton is no stranger to India. Her deep and abiding interest and commitment to India has helped shape the U.S. policy of close engagement with India. Secretary Clinton not only had a key role in the founding of the India Caucus in the United States Congress, the largest congressional grouping focused on strengthening relations with any foreign country, but she has been a staunch and sincere advocate of the strengthening of United States-India relations.
She was one of the key supporters of the historic agreement between our two countries on civil nuclear cooperation, which were realized through a bipartisan effort in the United States Congress, and the desire to add qualitative substance to the United States-India relationship. Our talks covered a comprehensive agenda encompassing the full range of global and bilateral issues of mutual concern and interest. India and the United States of America regard each other as global partners. Our two democracies can play a leading and constructive role on the global level in addressing the urgent global challenges of our times.
The agenda of our dialogue today reflects this global dimension for partnership. With that mission to guide our path, we have created new forums for meaningful dialogue on climate change, disarmament, and nonproliferation. We also recognize the importance of ensuring that the steps planned to revive the global economy should safeguard the priorities of sustainable development and the goal of poverty alleviation in the developing world. Ours is a shared commitment to a rule-based, multilateral trading system, and we will continue to speak out against protectionism.
Cooperation, trade, and investment between India and the United States can play a constructive role in the revival of the world economy. We have held useful discussions on those situations in our region. In our discussion today, Secretary Clinton and I also reaffirmed the (inaudible) commitment of both our countries to resist the threats to our two democracies from the scourge of terrorism.
In our bilateral partnership, Secretary Clinton and I have focused on the new agenda for India- U.S. 3.0 in which we’ll build on the excellent economic and political partnerships that already exist, redefine some of our dialogue to make them more result-oriented, and cleared new dialogues for achieving shared objectives in the areas of mutual interest.
Our governments have concluded three important documents, one on the creation of a science and technology (inaudible); two, a technical safeguards agreement which will permit the launch of civil or noncommercial satellites containing U.S. components on Indian space launch vehicles; and three, we have agreed on the end-use monitoring arrangements that will ensure their effort too in letters of acceptance for Indian procurement of U.S. defense technology can take effect.
The new dialogue that Secretary Clinton and I announced today on health, education, science and technology, and women’s empowerment will impact positively on areas of vital interest and concern to the daily lives of our two peoples. We have issued a joint statement on these initiatives. A fact sheet on the new bilateral dialogue architectures has also been put out. We will now have frequent high-level contacts to lead towards these dialogues.
Before I invite Secretary Clinton to say a few words, I would like to say what a pleasure it has been to receive her here. I’m more than confident that with her commitment and leadership of the dialogue process from the U.S. side, and our equal enthusiasm and commitment, the initiative that our governments will work on will benefit both our peoples.
Now, Secretary Clinton. SECRETARY CLINTON:
Thank you so much, Minister Krishna, for the warm welcome that your country has shown me and for the very productive conversations that we’ve had today. As I told the minister and Prime Minister Singh earlier, I have come to India deeply committed to building a stronger partnership between India and the United States, a partnership based on common interests and shared values and mutual respect. President Obama and I share this commitment and he sends his greetings. We believe that cooperation between our two countries will be a driver of progress in the 21st
Since I arrived here, people have asked me, “Can you pledge to maintain the positive U.S.-India relations that President Clinton and President Bush worked to build?” And I tell them that I can pledge more than that. We will work not just to maintain our good relationship, but to broaden and deepen it. And to that end, our governments have agreed to a strategic dialogue built on the five pillars in our joint statement. Minister Krishna and I will co-chair this dialogue, and we have asked senior officials across both of our governments to take the lead on each of the subjects.
A significant part of the President’s cabinet will participate – the Secretaries of Agriculture and Trade and Energy and Education and Finance and Health and Human Services and Homeland Security and more. We do not, however, intend for this to be a dialogue between ministers, or even between governments, but between our nation and our people, our scientists and business leaders, our civil society activists and academics, charitable foundations, farmers, educators, doctors, entrepreneurs, and the whole range of each of our countries. Nor do we see this dialogue simply as a forum for discussing important issues. We believe it must be a forum for action.
The Indian people and the American people share many traits, and one of them is that we like to roll up our sleeves and get things done. We look to this dialogue to deliver results that will benefit the people we represent as well as regional and global progress. We have shown progress already by finalizing important agreements today, including an end-use monitoring agreement that will pave the way for greater defense cooperation between our countries, and a technology safeguards agreement that will set up commercial partnerships in space, as well as a science and technology agreement.
I’m also pleased that Prime Minister Singh told me that sites for two nuclear parks for U.S. companies have been approved by the government. These parks will advance the aims of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, facilitate billions of dollars in U.S. reactor exports, and create jobs in both countries, as well as generate much-needed energy for the Indian people. We hope that India will be able to approve the liability legislation that will enable our U.S. companies to seize these important opportunities.
These meetings today were a very productive precursor to the new strategic dialogue. We discussed every important matter, particularly our shared efforts to fight terrorism and violent extremism. We talked about pragmatic approaches to climate change and clean energy and how we can build on areas of common ground while narrowing areas of disagreement moving toward Copenhagen.
We will do our part to confront the threats that we face, and we will hope to deepen the commitment that both of us already have to meeting these threats. We discussed our common vision of a world without nuclear weapons and the practical steps that our countries can take to strengthen the goal of nonproliferation. And I affirm the Obama Administration’s strong commitment to completing all of the remaining elements of our civil nuclear deal.
We also know that both of our countries play a critical role in the G-20 discussions about how to spur global economic growth and recovery, expand trade and commerce, reduce protectionism, and create fairer global trading rules. Now, each of our countries, as you would expect, have different perspectives about the problems we face and how we will solve them. But as the oldest democracy and the largest democracy in the world, we believe we can work through these differences in our perspectives and focus on shared objectives and concrete results.
I hope that an expanded partnership between the U.S. and India will be one of the signature accomplishments of both of our governments, and I plan to make this a personal priority, Minister Krishna.
As a sign of the importance of this relationship to the United States, I was pleased to extend an invitation earlier today to Prime Minister Singh from President Obama, inviting Prime Minister Singh to Washington on November 24th
for the first state visit of our new Administration. At a time when the headlines are filled with challenges, the relationship between the United States and India is a good news story and I believe, Minister, that it’s going to get even better.
Thank you very much. (Applause.) MODERATOR:
Thank you, Madame Secretary. The ministers will be happy to take two questions from each side. When your name is announced, please introduce yourself and your organization. I would also request that you should – you may please restrict – limit yourself to one question, either to the external affairs minister or to the Secretary of State.
First question, (Inaudible). QUESTION:
(Inaudible), I’m from ADP. Actually, I’m going to try and sneak in a question to each of you.
Minister Krishna, I wanted to ask you, you know, there have been some dramatic developments in the 26/11 case today with Ajmal Kasab confessing in court, and it seems to be like the pieces of a jigsaw falling into place with a number of developments over the last few days. The Pakistani (inaudible), we understand, the Indian side has been very pleased with that charge sheet in the case. Do you think that finally some substantial steps are being taken by Pakistan with regard to this case?
And Madame Secretary, I wanted to ask you whether it is your Administration’s policy to prevent the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology of the Nuclear Suppliers Group? And if so, don’t you think that that would undermine the spirit of the nuclear deal? FOREIGN MINISTER KRISHNA:
Thank you very much. We would like to have (inaudible) relationship with Pakistan. We would like to be good neighbors. And India is willing to do everything possible to make that happen.
But unfortunately, the attacks unleashed on Mumbai caused a great setback to the composite dialogue which was going on between India and Pakistan. Well, since then, at the highest level, there have been political exchanges. The prime minister of our country has spoken to the president of Pakistan. And very recently, he has had an interaction with the prime minister of Pakistan. As a result of that, we look forward – that when the United Nations General Assembly meets, there will be an opportunity for the foreign ministers of these two countries to continue this dialogue. SECRETARY CLINTON:
As I understand your question, it was whether we opposed the transfer of processing and enrichment technology. Well, clearly, we don’t. We have just completed a civil nuclear deal with India. So if it’s done within the appropriate channels and carefully safeguarded, as it is in the case of India, then that is appropriate, but we are very much opposed to unauthorized and inappropriate transfers that unfortunately can take place by certain countries or non-state actors doing so.
So there is a right way to do it, and there is a very wrong way, and we’re seeking the advice and suggestions from India about how we can prevent the unauthorized and dangerous transfer of nuclear technology and materiel which poses a threat to the entire world. MR. KELLY:
I’d like to call on Bob Burns from the AP. QUESTION:
I have a question for Secretary Clinton. Ma’am, there’s been an accumulation of grim news in Afghanistan this month. There was the capture of the American soldier, there was the Taliban video of him in captivity, there has been a fast-rising death toll among the coalition forces. As you know, the number of American troops killed this month already is the highest for any month since the war began almost eight years ago. I wonder if you take responsibility for a diplomatic failure to get more assistance and support from allies and coalition partners.
And if I also may ask a related question on Pakistan: You said yesterday that some of the people associated with the 9/11 attacks were hiding in Pakistan. Now today, the Pakistani Government denied that. I wonder if you could just say what makes you so sure that they – makes you so sure that they are in Pakistan. Thank you.SECRETARY CLINTON:
Well, Bob, as to the first question, it is deeply regrettable and tragic that we have had the loss of life by our Marines and soldiers in the last weeks as they have aggressively pursued the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. And we are very concerned about the kidnapping of our American soldier and are working to do all we can to obtain his safe release.
But I think it’s unfair to link the tragic loss of Americans in the battle against the Taliban and their associated terrorist allies with a failure by our allies. The last weeks also brought the largest loss of life for British soldiers. Other of our allies are engaged in combat, not only in the south, but sort of holding the line in the north. And I think that the commitment by ISAF and others to support this offensive against the Taliban is commendable.
Now, we are bearing the brunt of the battle because we have put more troops into it. But we are very grateful for the contributions and the sacrifice of so many who have come to the aid of Afghanistan and the Afghans themselves, who are also on the front lines sacrificing to try to bring peace and stability to their country. This is a very difficult battle, but it is one that we feel must be waged. And we have a strategy that the President has approved, and we are implementing it.
With respect to the location of those who were part of the planning of execution of the attacks of 9/11 against our country, we firmly believe that a significant number of them are in the border area of Pakistan. And we have conveyed that to the Pakistani Government and others, and we are actively looking for additional information that would lead us to them.MODERATOR:
Last two questions. (Inaudible.) Go ahead, please.QUESTION:
Speak up, (inaudible).QUESTION:
(Inaudible) Madame Secretary. I want to ask you that as far as Bush Administration is concerned and as far as your Obama Administration is concerned, we have seen a feeling – getting a sense of feeling that you are more inclined toward deepening relationships with – towards China and Pakistan, not (inaudible) India. Do you share that thought? What are your comments on that?SECRETARY CLINTON:
That question’s for me – oh, I was talking to (inaudible). I didn’t hear you. QUESTION:
(Laughter.) I wanted to start --MODERATOR:
Would you please repeat the question, please?QUESTION:
Yeah. First up, I wanted to ask you, ma’am, that as far as Bush Administration was concerned and now the new Obama Administration is concerned, we have seen that there is a sense of feeling that this new Administration is more concerned and inclined toward deepening the relationship with Pakistan and – China and Pakistan. What are your comments on that?SECRETARY CLINTON:
Well, my comments – if I don’t choke – are that we have demonstrated very clearly the significance and importance of our relationship with India. We entered into this relationship to broaden and deepen it as partners already on the world stage. And what we have outlined today will be a significant expansion of our bilateral relationship. We also have a very important set of issues that we are pursuing with Pakistan, with China, and with many other countries around the world.
But I don’t think you can understate the significance of our relationship as two democracies. We understand the difficulties of decision making in democracies. And we respect the vibrancy of each other’s democracy. That is a much stronger base for a relationship than any other in the world, because it is democracies that are able to expand an understanding of common interests and show mutual respect, and that is what is at the core of our broadening relationship between us.
So yes, of course, we have relations with other countries. The United States is called upon to act globally every single hour of every single day. But as the invitation to Prime Minister Singh’s first state visit in the Obama Administration demonstrates, we are very committed to this relationship.MR. KELLY:
The last question to Arshad Mohammed, Reuters.QUESTION:
Secretary Clinton, did you specifically discuss either with External Affairs Minister Krishna, with Prime Minister Singh, or with other Indian officials the possibility of restricting exports of gasoline and other refined petroleum products to Iran?
The other day, you told us that you were looking forward to hearing the perspectives of Indian officials that would appear to differ somewhat on the threat of the possibility of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. Did you hear anything on that that has changed your views on the matter? And --SECRETARY CLINTON:
How many questions do you have, Arshad? (Laughter.)QUESTION:
Just one --SECRETARY CLINTON:
Show some pity --QUESTION:
One more. Just one more. SECRETARY CLINTON:
-- for my diminished capacity here.QUESTION:
Minister, can you explain why your perspective on the risk of Iran getting a nuclear weapon differs from the American’s? And did – and what do you think of the possibility of trying to restrict gasoline exports to Iran?SECRETARY CLINTON:
Well, Arshad, there is no difference between us on our positions. Prime Minister Singh is on the public record as saying that India does not want to see Iran obtain a nuclear weapon. They have exactly the same position as we do.
And in the discussions today and the discussions to come, we’re going to be exploring with India their approach and perspectives toward Iran, and any advice that they can contribute to what is now an international consensus about the dangers posed to global stability if Iran were to become a nuclear weapons power.
So there’s a lot to discuss and we intend to do so. But our policy is in synch; neither of us want to see Iran obtain nuclear weapons.MODERATOR:
Thank you. The interaction now draws to a close.