India is a ‘very important strategic partner’: US (Lead)

February 13th, 2009 - 2:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 13 (IANS) The new Obama administration has reiterated that India is a “very important strategic partner” and is keen on implementing the historic civil nuclear deal worked out by the previous administration.

Responding to suggestions that Washington had already started ignoring India after George W. Bush’s departure, State Department spokesperson Robert Woods told reporters:

“No, that’s not the case at all.”

“India is a very important strategic partner for the United States,” Wood said.

Washington was “into the implementation phase of the 123 civil nuclear agreement”, he said, when asked about a few remaining certifications that Obama has to make before the historic deal can be implanted.

At the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated on a different occasion that the deep and broad partnership that India and the US are forging based on common history and values was destined to grow even stronger in the future.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1959 trip to India stands as a landmark of the civil rights movement and “a real testament to the bonds of affection and shared history between our two nations”, she said at a ceremony to send off a cultural US delegation to India led by the iconic leader’s son.

New Delhi’s welcome for the US cultural delegation was “a reflection that India also understands that the deep and broad partnership our countries are forging is one based on common history and values”, Clinton said. “And it is because of that that it is destined to grow even stronger in the future.”

Wood also termed Pakistan’s announced of the arrest of six people involved in the Nov 26-29 Mumbai attacks as a “positive step”.

“I think it shows that Pakistan is serious about doing what it can to deal with the people who may have perpetrated these attacks,” he said.

Asked how US would monitor if Pakistan took action against those responsible for Mumbai attacks or released them like notorious Pakistani A.Q. Khan, Wood said: “It’s a sovereign government that has said it will follow these leads wherever they go in terms of trying to find out who was responsible for these horrific attacks in Mumbai.

“Pakistan knows the entire international community is watching and wants to see justice. And so that, in itself, I think, will be sufficient incentive to the Pakistanis to, you know, follow every lead wherever it goes.”

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