US seeks to deepen economic, defence, academic ties with India

June 10th, 2009 - 10:28 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 10 (IANS) The United States says it’s seeking to strengthen its ties with India across a broad spectrum with greater economic exchanges, a broadened access for academic institutions and improved defence ties.

“In India, we’re seeking to broaden and strengthen our bilateral relationship,” Patrick Moon, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South & Central Asia told reporters at a briefing here last week on the global response to President Barack Obama’s historic speech to the Muslim world.

“We have certainly made great strides with India as it has opened up to the rest of the world and particularly to the West, and the new government gives every prospect of strengthening that trend,” he said according to a transcript released by the State Department Tuesday.

“We want greater economic exchange with India. We want to to broaden the access for academic institutions in India. We want to improve our defence relationship with India,” Moon said.

While the Muslim population is a minority population in India, he said “it is a very important part of the Indian political spectrum, and we will be working with all parts of the Indian political spectrum in strengthening this relationship.”

Noting that Obama had laid stress on new beginnings for engaging with Muslim communities, Moon said in South and Central Asia the US had already marked several new beginnings through revitalised bilateral relationships in the region.

“Start in particular with India where we have strengthened our relations with the government and the people of India over the last number of years and we look forward to working with the new government there,” he said noting that India has the second largest Muslim population in the world.

Referring to the visit of US Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns to India, Moon said: “He will be following up on the very successful elections there. The largest democracy in the world conducted a very smooth election, very little violence, and returned the Congress party to power.”

Many viewers in South Asia which has over a billion Muslim citizens had appreciated Obama’s desire for engagement and dialogue between the US and the Muslim world, he said noting a senior Indian official had strongly praised the speech in a meeting with the US Charge d’Affaires.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

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