New York: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama on Monday decided to "further refine" the Indo-US strategic partnership while pushing ahead with cooperation in the areas of security, counter-terrorism, defence, economy and climate change.
During the talks, Modi underlined the need for concrete outcomes at the upcoming global conference on climate change in Paris even as Obama said India's leadership at the meet will set the tone for decades to come. "We discussed how we can further refine our strategic vision," said Obama after the hour-long talks, third between the two leaders in over a year. He said the two leaders discussed how to move forward in various areas like security, economy, trade and investment as also cooperation to defence procurement.
"On all these issues, the Prime Minister has been an outstanding partner," Obama said. Appreciating the US President's "friendship, vision and commitment for the relationship", Modi said the bilateral partnership addresses a broad range of strategic and security concerns - counter terrorism, cyber security, training.
"Our defence cooperation, including defence trade and training is expanding. As existing terrorism threats grow and new ones emerge, we have resolved to further deepen cooperation on counter-terrorism and radicalism," the Prime Minister said.
With regard to climate change, both Obama and Modi expressed their commitment to meet the challenge faced by the world. "Much of our discussion today was focussed on the upcoming Climate Conference in Paris. We are encouraged by the aggressive nature of Prime Minister Modi's commitment to clean energy," the US President said about the meet beginning November 30.
"I think India's leadership in the upcoming conference will set the tone not just for today but for decades to come," he said, adding he has confidence in the ability of the two countries to partner with other large countries like China in this regard.
Modi said, "President and I share an uncompromising commitment on climate change, without affecting our ability to meet the development aspirations of humanity. We have both set ambitious national agendas."
Pressing the need for developing mechanisms to ensure affordable as well as accessible sources of clean energy, the Prime Minister said, "We look forward to comprehensive and concrete outcome in Paris with a positive agenda on combating climate change.
He said the outcomes of the Paris meet should focus on access to finance and technology for the developing world, especially the poor countries and small island states.
"I also thank President Obama for his positive response to my call for a global public partnership for developing affordable clean energy sources that will enable faster adoption of clean energy across the world," he said.
Modi said that in India, the measures include not just a plan to add 175 Giga Watts of renewable energy by 2022, but a development strategy that will enable the country to transition to a more sustainable energy mix.
"This is an exercise we are undertaking in the spirit of our culture and tradition, but also because of our commitment to the future of this planet," he said.
I thanked President Obama for U.S. support for India's permanent membership of a reformed UN Security Council. I also sought U.S. support to complete the reform process within a fixed time frame.
During the meeting, Obama reiterated US support to India's permanent membership of the UNSC to which Modi thanked the President and sought US support to complete the reform process within a fixed time frame. "I expressed our appreciation for continued US support for India's membership of the international export control regimes within our targeted time frame," Modi added.
The Prime Minister said the Indo-US partnership addresses a broad range of strategic and security concerns. He said the two sides agreed to further strengthen consultation and cooperation on helping the Afghan people combat terrorism and build a peaceful, stable and prosperous future of their nation.
Modi said he also welcomed the progress in giving shape to the Joint Strategic Vision on Asia, Pacific and Indian Ocean Regions as also the joint engagement with regional partners like Japan. "This will also strengthen our maritime security cooperation," he added.
"To further increase our strategic engagement in the region, I look forward to working with the US for India's early membership of Asian Pacific Economic Community," he said.
Referring to the economic partnership, Modi said it is a key driver of the relationship and mentioned his "excellent" meetings with business leaders in New York and San Jose. "I am very pleased with their confidence in India and value their constructive feedback and suggestions," he said.
"We will also continue to work towards a stronger bilateral framework of economic cooperation, including the Bilateral Investment Treaty and Totalisation Agreement," he said.
Modi said his meeting with Obama and other engagements in the US demonstrated the "extraordinary depth and diversity" of the relationship.
"Our meeting today was very productive in advancing some of our immediate priorities as also our broader strategic partnership," the Indian Prime Minister said.
Hailing the partnership with India, Obama said it reflects the fact that the two of the largest democracies in the world have an opportunity to help and define a common set of principles that the UN believes in. "We also had a chance to talk about trade and investment where our government and business leaders met again last week to forge new partnerships and create jobs and opportunities for Indians and Americans," the US President said.
He welcomed Modi's call to the Indian diaspora in the US, "which is very large and successful", to contribute their talents to India's progress. He said India and the United States have found those principles that the governments are there to serve their people and to every one.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup later said "substantial progress" has been made between India and US strategic and commercial dialogue. He said the two sides were working on Aircraft carrier technology.
Indian Ambassador to the US Arun Singh said talks on it are at an advance stage, with the two sides identifying specific projects to implement.
Swarup also noted that the meeting between Modi and Obama took place on a day India launched four US satellites, which reflected the kind of relationship the two countries have. He said Obama described India and US as natural partners.
On terrorism front, Modi said it is a global phenomenon and no country can be immune to it. He told Obama that time has come for the international community to come out in strong and united manner against the menace.
To a question, Swarup said there was a mention of Pakistan in the context of terrorism. The Kashmir issue also came up and there was a broad acknowledgement that it is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, the spokesman said.
Asked about Obama's response on G-4 push for membership of the UNSC, the MEA spokesman said the issue did not come up specifically but Obama reiterated support for a seat for India.
With regard to climate change, which also came up during meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande, Modi said that India's commitment on the issue is second to none, according to Swarup.
Modi said India will declare its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) on October 2, a day after the deadline, as it wants to make the announcement on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi who was the champion on the subject. All three leaders appreciated the Indian decision, Swarup said.
He said Modi made it very clear that the current climate of "negativism" was not a useful ahead of the Paris Summit and it would better if there is a positive approach.
India has been advocating transfer of finances and technology to the developing nations to help meet the climate change challenge. Modi discussed his canal top solar project initiated in Gujarat as Chief Minister and the two leaders agreed to have more such innovative ideas....