Obama, Modi Say Progress Made on Civil Nuclear Trade

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

India, US to restart talks on social security pact: Narendra Modi.

President Barack Obama throws rose petals as he participates in a wreath laying ceremony at the Raj Ghat Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, New Delhi, India on Sunday.

Terming terrorism as a “principal” global threat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said there should be no distinction between terrorist groups and pressed for countries to fulfil their commitment to wipe out their safe havens and bring them to justice. The two countries had been at an impasse over U.S. insistence on tracking fissile material it supplies to India and over Indian liability provisions that have discouraged U.S. firms from capitalizing on a 2008 civil nuclear agreement between the U.S. and India. “In our judgment, the Indians have moved sufficiently on these issues to give us assurances that the issues are resolved,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

His presence at Monday’s procession at Modi’s personal invitation is the latest revival in a roller-coaster relationship between the two largest democracies that just a year ago was in tatters. “I’d like to think the stars are aligned to finally realise the vision (of) India and America as true global partners,” Obama said in an interview with India Today, a weekly magazine, published on Friday. In a joint appearance following their meetings, both men went out of their way to illustrate how their personal chemistry was yielding progress on various fronts, from defense, to trade to energy issues. “Barack and I have formed a bond, a friendship,” Modi said. “We can laugh and joke and talk easily on the phone. He said as America’s combat mission is over in Afghanistan, “we are going to continue to be strong and reliable partners for the Afghan people who have benefited from India’s generous assistance over many years”. We will also restart discussions on a Social Security Agreement that is so important for the hundreds of thousands of Indian professionals working in the United States,” Modi said. The two leaders discussed long-standing differences, including the impasse over India’s liability law, which would hold American suppliers responsible for accidents at the power plants. “Six years after we signed our bilateral agreement, we are moving toward commercial cooperation, consistent with our law, our international legal obligations, and technical and commercial viability,” Mr.

The chemistry that has brought Barack and me closer has also brought Washington and Delhi closer.” Obama said: “Your election and your strong personal commitment to the US-India relationship gives us an opportunity to further energize these efforts.” Under hazy skies Sunday, Modi greeted Obama with a hug on the airport tarmac and offered an elaborate welcome at the country’s sprawling presidential palace. The US has entered into agreements, called ‘Totalization Agreements’, with several nations for the purpose of avoiding double taxation of income with respect to social security taxes. The United States views India as a vast market and potential counterweight to China’s assertiveness in Asia, but frequently grows frustrated with the slow pace of economic reforms and unwillingness to side with Washington in international affairs. “Particularly with regards to security, and we would like a much greater understanding with the United States with regards to regional issues,” India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley said in Davos ahead of Obama’s visit. Elected last May, Modi has injected a new vitality into the economy and foreign relations and, to Washington’s delight, begun pushing back against China’s growing presence in South Asia. On Monday, Obama was to be the guest of honor at India’s Republic Day festivities, making him the first U.S. president to attend the anniversary of the enactment of country’s democratic constitution.

The White House said Obama will depart slightly early from India to travel to Saudi Arabia following the death of King Abdullah, instead of a planned visit to the Taj Mahal.-India nuclear deal, which was supposed to clear the way for the sale of nuclear reactors and fuel to India, was signed in 2008, but the 2010 passage of an Indian law making suppliers liable for accidents stalled progress. Aides say the two men bonded in Washington in September when Obama took Modi to the memorial of Martin Luther King, whose rights struggle was inspired by India’s Mahatma Gandhi. Obama said the administration is “deeply concerned” about the latest deadly flare-up in eastern Ukraine, where authorities said indiscriminate rocket fire killed at least 30 people in Mariupol, in the southeast, on Saturday. Obama and Modi had come to an understanding on the liability issue, which is to be resolved through a “memorandum of law within the Indian system” that wouldn’t require legislation.

On Yemen, which has been a close U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism, Obama denied that the political vacuum created there last week has affected U.S. counterterrorism operations inside the Middle Eastern country. Obama said recent news reports to the contrary are inaccurate. “We continue to go after high-value targets inside of Yemen and continue to maintain the pressure that’s required to keep the American people safe,” he said. Both leaders also touted an agreement to jointly produce new defense technology.These projects “will help upgrade our domestic defense industry and expand the manufacturing sector in India,” Mr. The normally bustling streets of New Delhi were empty and the sidewalks cleared by Indian police as Obama’s motorcade sped from the palace to Gandhi’s memorial.

The show of solidarity Sunday came against the backdrop of an increasingly assertive and well-armed China that has altered the balance of power in Asia. Earlier, Obama walked in his socks into a walled courtyard to lay a large white wreath at the site where Gandhi, India’s independence icon, was cremated.

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