Rao meets Clinton; discusses range of bilateral issues

Rao meets Clinton; discusses range of bilateral issues

 A wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including the importance of civil nuclear cooperation, were discussed during the first meeting of Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here.

"They talked about maintaining the momentum in our bilateral relationship and our strategic dialogue," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.
"They also talked about the full range of bilateral issues, including the importance of our civil nuclear cooperation and our continued efforts to chart a way forward that'll bring India the benefits of American nuclear technology," she said.

This was Rao's first meeting with Clinton after she took over as Indian Ambassador to the US in Washington late last year.

Rao, who has already done a lot of travel around the US and been to a lot of US universities, gave the secretary some flavour for that, the Spokesperson said.
"They talked about Afghanistan and the important role that India plays in supporting the new Silk Road Initiative, and private sector capacity building in Afghanistan," Nuland said, adding that they also discussed about Burma.

Responding to questions, she said the two countries are still working through the legal and regulatory issues that the US has with India.

Clinton and Rao also talked about Iran and how New Delhi and Washington can work together on the issue of US and EU sanctions against Tehran, she said.

US is urging India to decrease its dependence on Iranian oil, which New Delhi insists that was very difficult to achieve.

"As we have said a number of times over the last week and a half, we have had intensive conversations with the government of India in Delhi about this legislation, and we are continuing to work with them on how we can implement it together in a phased and managed way," Nuland said.

"I am not going to give you an up-and-down scorecard on our consultations with each of these countries as they happen, and I am not in a position to comment on stray Israeli media reports," the spokesperson said.

However, neither the State Department nor the Indian Embassy would say if the issue of 'Golden Temple' remarks of popular television host Jay Leno figured during the talks.
"Both recognised that there has been tremendous progress in strengthening the India-US global strategic partnership and they agreed to continue their efforts to further consolidate upon the progress made and work towards implementing the initiatives that had been taken in the last few years including in the area of civil nuclear cooperation," said Indian Embassy spokesman, Virander Paul.

"Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rao also exchanged perspectives on regional issues of mutual interest including the situation in Afghanistan, and recent developments with regard to Iran and Myanmar," he added.

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