‘India, US working together to solve biggest challenges’

July 17th, 2008 - 12:06 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 17 (IANS) India and the US are working together to solve some of the biggest challenges of the time, including energy security and nuclear non-proliferation, according to US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte. The two countries enjoy a broad, deep relationship based on common values and interests and the strategic partnership between them encompasses a broad spectrum, the second ranking US diplomat said at a function here Wednesday.

Negroponte and Richard Boucher, assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, were on hand to welcome South Asian participants of the Seeds of Peace programme.

Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen and Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani were also present to greet 32 young leaders from the two countries who have just completed a three-week conflict resolution programme in Maine.

Talking about the India-US relationship, Negroponte said: “Our strategic partnership covers a wide variety of areas - education, science, agriculture, security, environmental stewardship, and counter-terrorism.

“Together, we are working to solve some of the biggest challenges of our time, including energy security and nuclear non-proliferation.”

Pakistan too is “a key American partner”, Negroponte said. “We are working closely with Pakistan’s government and people to improve economic development, resolve food and energy problems, and counter violent extremists.”

Educational exchanges, he said, were central to US efforts to deepen ties between Americans, Indians and Pakistanis. “As Seeds of Peace shows, bringing citizens together to listen and learn is a powerful means by which nations can better understand one another and grow closer.”

As they return from camp to the “real world” in Washington, the participants will be meeting members of the US Congress as well as representatives of the Indian and Pakistani diplomatic missions.

The aim is to show them that world leaders are interested in their achievements and entrust them with creating a more just and secure future in their region and for all peoples and nations.

What was striking at the camp was the kind of love and affection shared by all the attendees that reflected a different version and mindset of the conflict between India and Pakistan, said Parasit Chaudhry of Mumbai, speaking for the Indian group.

“We learnt from each other… we developed a bond that cannot be broken by distance,” he said. The discussions were “very intense at times” but the groups came out with a better understanding of “tolerance, respect and trust”.

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