Washington: The US shares a special and unique friendship with India and can be its "best partner" in promoting peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, a senior Obama administration official has said.
"America can be India's best partner. We are indeed, as the President has said, indispensable partner in promoting peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, " Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal said yesterday.
"Our friendship with India is special and unique and the growing US-India ties are important but not exclusive to the region," she said. Biswal said the India-US relationship by its very nature cuts across every field of human endeavour and that is a reflection of the two societies and the convergence between the two cultures.
The progress in the relationship demonstrates that the US and India are not just natural partners, she said. Describing the last month's Obama visit as "incredibly important and consequential one", Biswal said for the first time in India-US bilateral relationship there can be no doubt about the strength of the joint strategic vision between the two nations.
"We are drivers of growth across the region and around the world," she said, adding that the two countries are net provider of security in the Indian Ocean region. These values are clearly reflected in the joint vision statement for the Asia Pacific region issued after Obama-Modi summit in New Delhi last month, she said.
Biswal said Obama's India visit marked "historic progress" on resolving some of the lingering challenges that previously were being experienced, including the civil nuclear agreement. The establishment of a contact group by Obama and Modi after their September 2014 meeting at the White House set in motion the type of intense negotiations that allowed India and the US to achieve "breakthrough understanding" between the two governments on advancing civil nuclear cooperation, she said.
"We believe we have the requisite understanding on both sides to enable civil nuclear co-operation to move forward," she said. "As we believe that some of these lingering challenges have been resolved and addressed, now it would be up to the countries to access for themselves, the business case scenarios and make their own decisions based on the commercial aspects, how to move forward," she said.
"We believe that the potential, which is a compelling one, in terms of how our industry can open up to the USD 40 billion worth of Indian civil nuclear power sector and bring electricity to 400 million people in India, who still have inadequate power access," she said.