India, US to go ahead with nuclear deal

India, US to go ahead with nuclear deal

India, US to go ahead with nuclear deal

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, meets Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on Friday. AP

"We've said before that the resolution that was passed on Thursday unanimously by the Security Council does not have any bearing on our bilateral civil nuclear cooperation," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said.

Blake was briefing journalists after a bilateral meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna here.

The UNSC had adopted a resolution seeking all non NPT signatories to join the treaty but India, which views it as discriminatory, refused to accept it.

The senior US official said that discussion between Krishna and Clinton also included cooperation between India and the US on higher education, referring to Indian Lok Sabha bill that will enable more foreign participation in the higher education sector.
"There are a number of American universities who are very eager to do more. So we’re very excited about that as well," he said.

During the meeting, Clinton hoped that the upcoming meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan would lead to relations between the two countries to a more positive footing.

The US position, he said, has always been that this is something that needs to be worked out between America’s two friends--India and Pakistan.

When asked if the Indian External Affairs Minister lodged any protest about the US aid to Pakistan and it being used against India, Blake said: "I would rather not get into trying to talk about what the Indians said. I mean, I would prefer you just ask them directly about their positions, because particularly on this subject, it is quite a sensitive issue, and I don’t want to mischaracterize their views".

During the meeting, Clinton also briefed Krishna on the latest development on the Iran front and the stand taken up by the US along with Britain and France on Thursday morning an hour before the start of the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh.

"The Secretary briefed External Affairs Minister Krishna on President Obama’s announcement this morning with President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Brown about our concerns regarding the new Iranian nuclear facility. She also welcomed the very strong statement that Russia made in this regard," he said.

Blake said Clinton made no request to her Indian counterpart on New Delhi cutting trade or relationship with Tehran. "There were no requests at this meeting, but I think we have had very good dialogue in the past with India on nuclear issues and specifically with reference to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, where I think Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly made clear that they don’t believe it is in India’s interest to have another nuclear weapons state in the region," Blake said.

A major part of the discussion centred around Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's state visit in November to the US, a first to be hosted by Obama administration.
Clinton conveyed that Washington viewed New Delhi as a very important partner. The two dignitaries also discussed development issues in the region and security matters related to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka were also covered.

"They touched on the situation in Sri Lanka, where I think we have very similar views. The US, particularly I think both of us agree on the importance of Sri Lanka resettling almost 300,000 internally displaced people who remain in the camps," Blake said.

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