SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone, and let me again warmly welcome all of our Indian guests, most particularly Minister Krishna, here to the State Department. It is indeed an honor to host this inaugural Strategic Dialogue between India and the United States, and this makes good on plans that Minister Krishna and I announced in India last summer and it advances the vision of partnership articulated by President Obama and Prime Minister Singh. I know that President Obama is looking forward to joining us later today and underscoring his personal commitment to strengthening the U.S.-India relationship.
India is an indispensable partner and a trusted friend. We believe that a rising India is good for the United States and good for the world.
Our two nations – great democracies, dynamic and interconnected economies, and engines of progress – understand that our fortunes in this new century are increasingly linked. Our people are more connected today than ever before, and we face complex global challenges that will be difficult to solve without the United States and India working together. And we also face opportunities that can only be seized by tapping the talents and innovation of both the Indian and American peoples.
Today, we’ve had a series of very productive discussions about a wide range of our common concerns, touching on bilateral, regional, and global issues.
First, on security. Both India and the United States have seen our cities and our citizens targeted by violent extremists, and we share concerns about the continuing threat of terrorism and we share concerns about the dangers of nuclear proliferation. For our peoples, security is more than a priority; it is an imperative. And it was a prime topic of discussion today.
Minister Krishna and I discussed the importance of India’s leadership to promoting security, stability, and prosperity across Asia and beyond. We are collaborating on a Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative to improve information sharing and capacity building, and we agreed to expand cooperation in cybersecurity. We are deepening our already extensive military-to-military partnership.
And I thanked Minister Krishna for India’s generous contributions in Afghanistan. And I was delighted to learn at lunch how deep the ties between India and Afghanistan go back, and it is clear that what India has been doing in development projects are very significant and we look forward to finding ways to collaborate.
Charting an energy future that is secure and sustainable is a crucial challenge for both of us. I am pleased that we have completed a nuclear reprocessing agreement nearly six months ahead of schedule, underlying our commitment to the civil nuclear accord of 2008. We are building on the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy established by President Obama and Minister Singh, including by expanding our work together on energy efficiency, smart grids, forest management, and so much else. And we are committed to working on an action plan on shale gas cooperation prior to President Obama’s trip to India. We have launched a new dialogue on climate change, discussing how to continue the progress made in Copenhagen, and work more closely together.
On the economy, we discussed the importance of capitalizing on the doubling of our trade over the last five years, bringing together experts from across our governments to focus on macroeconomic policy, financial sector reforms, and infrastructure financing. U.S. and Indian cabinet secretaries and ministers will meet on June 22nd in Washington with the members of the US-India CEO Forum to hear recommendations on specific steps our two governments can take to expand trade and investment.
Now, we know that innovation is a source of growth and dynamism, and we discussed greater collaboration on technology, including exchanging delegations of high-tech innovation leaders later this year and developing new partnerships and cross-cutting solutions. Passage of legislation allowing foreign universities to open campuses in India would be a significant step forward, and I am pleased that a number of U.S. institutions have already expressed an interest.
One of the areas where we intend to have closer scientific collaboration is food security, boosting the productivity of our farmers and giving more people in more places the tools they need to feed themselves and their communities. Our new Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Cooperation and Food Security is part of this important effort. And we agreed to establish working groups to develop concrete proposals for the U.S. and India to enhance food security in third countries, strengthen farm-to-market links and food processing in India, and develop an initiative to expand weather and crop forecasting.
On all these issues, we have stayed relentlessly focused on how to deliver results that will make a difference in people’s lives. After all, that is what this is supposed to be about. We want to help people in India and in the United States feel more secure, more prosperous, and more able to fulfill their own God-given potential.
We will meet again next year in Delhi to resume this high-level discussion. But between now and then, we will work every day to translate our shared goals into concrete actions. And the dialogue must extend beyond these official channels to our homes, our businesses, our communities, our universities – every aspect of our respective societies – to build mutual understanding and respect between our peoples.
I am very proud to be part of this process and to join with Minister Krishna and other leaders and experts we have convened from both sides to help deepen this defining partnership.
Thank you so much, Minister.
FOREIGN MINISTER KRISHNA: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am particularly pleased to be co-chairing this dialogue with Secretary Clinton, whom we consider as a dear and longstanding friend. She’s a true believer in the vast potential of the India-U.S. partnership.
I want to thank her for her gracious hospitality and the splendid cooperation by her colleagues that has no doubt gone into the preparations for this inaugural meeting of the Indo-U.S. Strategic Dialogue. This dialogue, as Secretary Clinton said, is a unique forum that really brings together the different threads of our extraordinarily wide agenda and allows us to look at the entire relationship in an integrated strategic fashion.
I would like to emphasize the importance that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attaches to India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue and to Indo-U.S. relationship. He and President Obama reaffirmed, when they last met, their commitment to taking this relationship to a new level of coordination and cooperation, a global strategic partnership for the 20th century – 21st century between India and the United States. We consider our strategic partnership with the United States as one of our key foreign policy priorities. The United States is the largest economy in the world and India is emerging as one of the largest and one of its fastest growing economies.
The relationship rests on a solid bedrock of shared values. There are few relationships in the world that have so much potential as India-U.S. relations. Therefore, I believe that our cooperation is not only for great mutual benefit, but we can work together to make a significant contribution to global peace, prosperity, and stability in the 21st century.
Secretary Clinton and I, joined by senior colleagues, have had a very comprehensive and productive discussion today. Our discussions covered a broad range of global economic and security issues. We agreed to continue the practice of close and regular consultation and to remain sensitive to each of others’ interests and concerns. We expressed the hope that the G-20 meeting in Canada later this month will stimulate further coordinated international efforts for economic recovery and stabilization and to safeguard our goal of balanced and sustainable development. We had a very good exchange of views on reforms necessary not only in the international economic architecture, but also in the global political and security architecture, including the UN Security Council, so as to reflect contemporary global realities, as President Obama’s national security strategy also points out.
We shared concerns about developments in Asia, including on the Korean Peninsula. We have a common interest in advancing security and stability across Asia. We shared our perspectives on South and Central Asia, East and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East and the Indian Ocean region. India and the United States have a shared convergent goal of a stable, peaceful, pluralistic and democratic Afghanistan, which protects the rights and dignity of all sections of Afghan society. India and the United States are partners in achieving these goals. I conveyed our view that these goals can be best advanced through sustained international commitment in Afghanistan by building Afghan capacities for governance and security through initiatives that are led and controlled by Afghans themselves.
We agreed on the importance of avoiding choices that lead us to the dark alleys of the 1990s and the importance of safeguarding the gains and progress that have been made since then, especially with regard to the position and rights of women in Afghanistan. Our dialogue has further increased our understanding on the nature and source of terrorism that threatens both of our societies. We agreed that terrorism, terrorist groups, operate as a syndicate, leveraging each others’ assets and strength, and are increasingly converging together on motivation and targets.
Hence, a segmented approach towards terrorism, especially in our neighborhood, could not succeed. We are pleased with the way our counterterrorism cooperation has progressed, and today we have agreed to intensified (inaudible). We discussed the steps that we should take to further deepen our growing defense and security cooperation, including defense trade and collaboration, which has grown rapidly in recent years.
We had, again, a very good discussion on economic cooperation, high technology exports to India, cooperation in higher education, healthcare, science and technology, empowerment, agriculture, climate change, and energy. In each of these areas, there is immense opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation that will make a significant contribution towards creating jobs and prosperity in both countries.
I am pleased that there is a strong balance and momentum in trade and investment in both directions. Secretary Clinton and I agreed that we have to go beyond multiplying our trade and investments. We are two innovative societies with a proven track record of success in partnerships for innovation. India is making a modest but meaningful contribution, based on its experience and expertise on (inaudible) resources, to development efforts in other countries. This is an area where we have a lot to learn from each other, and we had a very useful discussion on these issues today.
In short, our dialogue was wide-ranging. We have identified the areas of our strategic priority and a roadmap for cooperation in each of these areas. Secretary Clinton and I have agreed to monitor the progress and meet again in 2011, and we look forward to warmly welcoming President Obama and the family in India later this year.
I would like to thank my distinguished colleagues, Shri Kapil Sibal; Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman, planning commission; Shri Prithviraj Chavan, minister for science and technology, and other senior officers who ably assisted us here in Washington, after having held a series of meetings with their U.S. counterparts for this Strategic Dialogue today.
Madam Secretary, thank you again, once again.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Minister. Thank you so much.
MR. CROWLEY: We have time for two questions on each side. We’ll begin with Jill Dougherty from CNN.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Thank you, Madam Secretary. I have a question on the flotilla clash. What can you tell us about the Turkish American who was killed in that clash? Does his death make it more likely that an American will participate in any investigation? And also, Prime Minister Netanyahu is now saying that he is willing to evaluate new ideas on the blockade of Gaza. Do you have – does the United States have any new ideas in this regard?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, we can confirm that a U.S.-Turkish dual national, Mr. Furkan Dogan, was among those killed in the raid on the flotilla. Our ambassador to Turkey, Ambassador Jim Jeffrey, has been in contact with the family. We’ve offered not only our heartfelt condolences but any kind of consular assistance that the family might need at this time.
We are still gathering information about what happened. We know that there was another American citizen injured on one of the ships. There is also a third American who was injured during a subsequent protest and remains hospitalized.
Protecting the welfare of American citizens is a fundamental responsibility of our government and one that we take very seriously. We are in constant contact with the Israeli Government, attempting to obtain more information about our citizens. We have made no decisions at this point on any additional specific actions that our government should take with respect to our own citizens.
But as we have stated continuously, we expect the Israeli Government to conduct a prompt, impartial, credible, and transparent investigation that conforms to international standards and gets to all the facts surrounding this tragic event. We are open to different ways of assuring that it is a credible investigation, including urging appropriate international participation.
With respect to Gaza, we are evaluating ways of expanding the flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza while protecting Israel’s legitimate security interests. There’s a great deal of consultation going on as well as work in our own government to determine ideas that we would share with the Israelis and other international partners, because as I have said before, we have to deal with the situation in Gaza in a way that both protects Israel’s legitimate security interests and fulfills the needs of the people of Gaza. And that is what we’re seeking.
QUESTION: Could I just ask one clarification? When you talk about international participation in that investigation, again, do you believe that a U.S. – an American should be part of that investigation?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, we haven’t made any decision on that. That was part of the presidential statement that came out of the United Nations Security Council on Monday night, and we are engaged in broad-based discussions with the Israelis and others.
MR. CROWLEY: Lalit Jha from the Press Trust of India.
QUESTION: Thank you, P.J. Mr. Minister, as you conclude your first Strategic Dialogue with United States, which went beyond your scheduled time here today, can you give us a sense of the U.S.-India relations now and the way forward? And what are the takeaways for India from this meeting?
And Madam Secretary, you spoke about India’s being an indispensable partner and trusted friend. So what is holding United States from endorsing India as a member of – permanent member of the United Nations Security Council?
FOREIGN MINISTER KRISHN: Well, this is a uniquely structured Strategic Dialogue which has taken place. The idea was first (inaudible) by Secretary Clinton when she visited New Delhi last summer. Since then, we have been working towards this all-important Strategic Dialogue.
United States and India share so many commonalities. We are nations which truly believe in democracy and in democratic values. We both are pluralistic societies. We both respect human rights. And we both believe that together we can play a very constructive role in shaping the global events, in stabilizing peace and tranquility, and perhaps this partnership, this relationship between our two countries, will go a long way in sending out a message clear and loud that these are two democracies which believe in equality, which believe in equal respect, and which also believes that we have a bigger role to play in shaping the destinies of humankind. And this Strategic Dialogue is moving in that direction.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I would just thank the minister for that very elegant and eloquent description of the overarching framework of these dialogues, because that’s exactly how seriously we take the importance of this interaction. And of course, there are many specific actions that are being worked on by our respective governments, and we will be making a report – I to President Obama and Minister Krishna to Prime Minister Singh – detailing all of the work that has been accomplished. And I hope that our press on both sides will focus on it because we really are committed to trying to invigorate the actions that will demonstrate exactly what Minister Krishna talked about: our commitment to advancing humankind.
So I know that it won’t necessarily get headlines in either one of our media, but working to expand access to higher education is a huge deal. Working to better coordinate on science, technology, and innovation, exchanging scientists, supporting centers of excellence – who knows what benefits will flow from that. Working to improve the productivity of agriculture, exchanging views on how best we can deal with health issues that are going to overwhelm our respective health systems – I mean, there’s just so much, so much richness, so much of a commitment. And I’m very much looking forward to this continuing work.
As to your specific question, I said in my opening remarks that we don’t have any way forward yet on Security Council reform, but we are obviously very committed to considering India. At this point, as you probably know, there is no consensus in the world and that is the challenge of dealing with multilateral organizations. I think as Minister Krishna said at another point in our meeting today, once you get to multilateral negotiations it slows down considerably. But we are definitely committed to the consideration of India.
MR. CROWLEY: Andy Quinn from Reuters.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, Mr. Minister, Afghanistan is obviously a big focus for both countries. And President Karzai’s peace jirga has recently concluded and endorsed his proposal to begin reaching out to the Taliban, and indeed many of them are saying they should be reaching out not only to foot soldiers, but even up to the leaders of Taliban to try to bring them into peace talks.
So my question to both of you is: How do both of you see the end game moving forward in Afghanistan? How do India and Pakistan balance their interests in the country? And what do we see for the Taliban as a potential future partner there?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I will begin. I don’t think that the consultative peace jirga has concluded. I think it is in the midst of very intense discussions. As I understand it, there have been more than 50 discussion groups that are underway, and reports are being made at the end of each day. And then the leaders of the jirga will be reporting to President Karzai, and all of that will be taken into account.
We’ve been very clear in our approach that we think that there is a basis for reintegrating Taliban fighters back into society, but we do not believe anyone should be either reintegrated or reconciled on a political basis without renouncing al-Qaida, renouncing violence, committing to live by the laws and constitution of the nation of Afghanistan.
There is no military solution to most conflicts. This is not unique in that regard. There have to be political decisions that go along with military actions. And we have told President Karzai, most recently on his visit, that we understand that, and we support his efforts. But of course, we want to be kept fully informed and we want to be able to work with him. And it is clear that there are some people who call themselves Taliban who already are coming off the battlefield, they want to return home, they have no ideological commitment. And then there are others who tried to blow up the peace jirga.
So this is not something that you can have a blanket statement about. This is painstaking work to try to identify those with whom there may be the opportunity for some political reconciliation, and others for whom there is no prospect and they have to be defeated and deterred from their continuing violence against the people of Afghanistan, against our troops, and they have to be rooted out of their safe havens in Pakistan where they are being a very grave threat to the Government of Pakistan now. So this is a matter that crosses borders, poses a transnational threat, as we have seen on numerous occasions, and must be undertaken with full awareness of that.
FOREIGN MINISTER KRISHNA: Well, we made our position very clear when the London conference convened by (inaudible) on Afghanistan. There we spelled out that anyone, any group of persons who disassociate themselves from various terrorist outfits, and who are willing to go along, accepting the Afghan constitution and then the Afghan-led Government by President Karzai, then we should not have any problems in dealing with them and then in bringing to the mainstream of Afghan society.
India and Afghanistan have a very close relationship. It is not yesterday’s, it’s the day before yesterday’s, at one of our morning session, there was a mention that there are Kabulis – that means who reside in Kabul – in almost every (inaudible) center in India. And then our ambassador was mentioning about the Kabuliwala, the movie, which was centered around Kabul. So this historical and civilizational affinity that we have with Afghanistan makes us to think about Afghanistan and then Afghan brothers and sisters, you know. And then especially, I know how deeply Secretary Clinton feels about the women and the children.
The last time when I had the opportunity of exchanging views on Afghanistan with her, she was so happy mentioning to me about the number of children who are back in schools in Afghanistan. I think that the kind of Afghanistan that we all would like to think about and look forward to. And anything India can do in trying to lift Afghanistan towards that frontier, that frontier of children going back to schools, mothers being able to freely communicate with their relatives and friends without fear, I think that is the kind of society for which we are working. And then our contribution in Afghanistan is a very constructive nature. It is not military driven. It is development driven. And we are concentrating, in spite of the price that we have had to pay – there have been a series of attacks on our mission.
I would like to – I visited Kabul twice, and then I have conveyed to those who are working under such difficult circumstances where India has been the target of attack. And we know the reason, you know. And, well, knowing the reason, knowing the motives, we are going to stay in Afghanistan to defeat these terrorist (inaudible).
QUESTION: Madam Secretary --
MR. CROWLEY: No, no. Goyal, no, no. We can finish up (inaudible).
QUESTION: Mr. Minister, last week the White House released its National Security Strategy in which the Obama Administration identified India, along with Russia and China, as emerging powers with which it wanted to deepen and strengthen its relationship. Now, where does India place the United States in this context with regards to its strategic and national interest?
And Madam Secretary, to you, to what – this is called the Strategic Dialogue, and to what extent does it represent any change in strategy at a sort of a macro level versus continuity? And if does, could you just give us some details on what that change is? Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER KRISHNA: President Obama’s strategy statement is a very welcome development from India’s point of view. Well, we have always felt comforted with our association with United States. Our partnership has gone through various vicissitudes but one thing stands out very clear, that it is an enduring partnership. And we would like to continue that partnership. And while doing so, we do appreciate the enormous responsibilities that partnership (inaudible) on India, perhaps on the United States also. Well, India is willing to discharge its part of the responsibility and we are thankful to President Obama for the kind of strategy statements that have been made on his behalf and, well, needless for me to say that millions of Indians are looking forward to President Obama’s visit later this year to India.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I believe that our current partnership represents both continuity and change. As Minister Krishna said, we have a long, enduring relationship with India, going back to independence. We have had many partnerships that have proven beneficial to both of our countries, going back through that time. Certainly, the Green Revolution, which was an American-Indian project, stands as one of the great achievements of the 20th century, or perhaps all of human history. So the continuity that was evidenced by my husband’s efforts to reach out to India, evidenced by President Bush’s continuing efforts, and a commitment to a tangible demonstration of the modern state of our relationship with the civ nuclear deal, has now come to a point where we wish to both continue and deepen the enduring relationship.
But we want to broaden the base of that relationship. So the comprehensive agenda that is encompassed by this Strategic Dialogue goes far beyond one project or one visit or any single aspect. Instead, we are committed to not only working government-to-government, as we have been today and as we have for the last year, but also building on the very strong foundation that exists between the Indian and American peoples. This is an affair of the heart, not just of the head. The relationship between India and the United States and between our peoples is rooted in common values, shared aspirations.
We know we have different historical experiences, we have different cultural perspectives; we understand that. But underneath it, in addition to our common humanity, there is this commitment to democracy and diversity, to the rule of law, to the empowerment of people, that sets the United States and India apart. We often talk about how India is the largest democracy, we’re the oldest democracy, we’re the largest economy, India is making rapid progress and moving up with its economic growth.
So this is a relationship that is so rooted in our values, and that’s why I think it stands the test of time despite the vicissitudes that come between any two great countries or any two people, for that matter. But persisting and understanding and working through on a basis of mutual respect is how we intend to build an even stronger relationship through the mechanism of this Strategic Dialogue in the years ahead.
MR. CROWLEY: Minister Krishna has a meeting at the White House, so we have to end it here. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all, very much.
MINISTER KRISHNA: Thank you.