N-deal opened doors to new opportunities in India-US ties: envoy

March 5th, 2009 - 1:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 5 (IANS) India is looking for new areas of cooperation with the US after signing a landmark civil nuclear deal last year, Indian ambassador to the US Ronen Sen has said.

Describing the deal as a remarkable achievement, he said Wednesday at a meeting on ‘Delivering on the Promise: Advancing US Relations with India’ that it had freed India-US relations from the baggage of the past.

“You can’t overestimate its importance both in terms of symbolism and substance,” he said, noting the deal had opened the door to new opportunities ranging from cooperation in fighting climate change, nuclear non-proliferation to trade and investment.

“We have a vested interest in working as partners in tackling this problem of climate change,” Sen added at the meeting organised by the US India Business Council. “I would like to say that you will find us cooperative in this joint endeavour.”

According to the ambassador, India and the US shared concerns in climate policy, including reducing the environmental damage caused by rising temperatures and finding ways to reduce dependence on energy imports.

“This is one area where I think our interests converge more than any two countries that I can think of,” Sen said, while reiterating New Delhi’s position that developing nations should have different obligations than the advanced countries bearing greater historic responsibility for global warming.

“We can’t tell an electorate when you are going into elections that when you have something like in excess of 300 million people without any access to electricity at all that you have to put a cap on this,” he said.

Frank Wisner, former US ambassador to India, agreed that the pervasive atmosphere of mistrust had dissipated with the nuclear deal. But now that the deal was done they needed to overcome the “temptation of getting on with the urgent and not deal with the important”.

While the nuclear deal held long-term importance, US and India needed to cooperate on issues like terrorism, stability in Pakistan, economic growth, access to global markets and overcoming the threats of protectionism to “realise the promise of this relationship”.

Chip Kaye, co-president Warburg Pincus, sought India’s help in building an international consensus on dealing with the economic crisis in a concerted manner, noting “a form of growing financial nationalism is growing not just in emerging market economies, but also developed market economies”.

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