It is time to set a new agenda in Indo-US ties: Modi and Obama

Washington: Terming the Indo-US relationship as "robust, reliable and enduring", Prime Minister Narendra
Modi and US President Barack Obama today said the true potential of the ties was yet to be fully realised and the advent of a new government in India was a natural opportunity to broaden and deepen the ties.

For the first time, writing a joint editorial, the Indian Prime Minister and the American President said it was time to
set a "new agenda" and with a reinvigorated level of ambition and greater confidence both the countries can go beyond modest and conventional goals.

"This will be an agenda that enables us to find mutually rewarding ways to expand our collaboration in trade, investment and technology that harmonize with India's ambitious development agenda, while sustaining the United States as the global engine of growth," they said in the editorial published in the Washington Post.

They said as global partners, they are committed to enhancing our homeland security by sharing intelligence, through counter-terrorism and law-enforcement cooperation, while we jointly work to maintain freedom of navigation and lawful commerce across the seas.

The two leaders said that "today our partnership is robust, reliable and enduring, and it is expanding. Our relationship involves more bilateral collaboration than ever before - not just at the federal level but also at the state and local levels, between our two militaries, private sectors and civil society.

"Indeed, so much has happened that, in 2000, then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee could declare that we are natural allies."

The two leaders said the true potential of the relationship between the two countries has yet to be fully realised though it has been robust, reliable and enduring.

"Still, the true potential of our relationship has yet to be fully realised. The advent of a new government in India is
a natural opportunity to broaden and deepen our relationship.

"With a reinvigorated level of ambition and greater confidence, we can go beyond modest and conventional goals. It is time to set a new agenda, one that realizes concrete benefits for our citizens," Modi and Obama said.

Talking about the existing cooperation, they said "our militaries conduct joint exercises in air, on land and at sea,
and our space programmes engage in unprecedented areas of cooperation, leading us from Earth to Mars."

They lauded the role being played by the "vibrant" Indian American community saying it has been a living bridge between the two nations.

Both the leaders said they will discuss ways to enhance cooperation in trade, science and technology and government-to-government level to help improve the quality, reliability and availability of basic services in India.

"In this, the United States stands ready to assist. An immediate area of concrete support is the "Clean India" campaign, where we will leverage private and civil society innovation, expertise and technology to improve sanitation and hygiene throughout India," they said.

Obama and Modi said they will aim for the strategic partnership to be larger than merely the sum of its parts to ensure a better future for the citizens of the two countries as well as to the world at large. "While India benefits from the growth generated by U S investment and technical partnerships, the United States benefits from a stronger, more prosperous India. In turn, the region and the world benefit from the greater stability and security that our friendship creates.

"We remain committed to the larger effort to integrate South Asia and connect it with markets and people in Central and Southeast Asia," they said. Referring to areas of deeper cooperation, Modi and Obama said collaboration in health sector will help tackling the "toughest of challenges" like combating the spread of Ebola, researching cancer cures or conquering diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and dengue.

"The exploration of space will continue to fire our imaginations and challenge us to raise our ambitions. That we
both have satellites orbiting Mars tells its own story. The promise of a better tomorrow is not solely for Indians and
Americans: It also beckons us to move forward together for a better world.

"This is the central premise of our defining partnership for the 21st century. Forward together we go - chalein saath saath," the two leaders said.

Modi and Obama said both India and the United States were bound by common values and mutual interests as they were committed to democracy, liberty, diversity and enterprise.

"We have each shaped the positive trajectory of human history, and through our joint efforts, our natural and unique
partnership can help shape international security and peace for years to come," they said.

"Ties between the United States and India are rooted in the shared desire of our citizens for justice and equality. When Swami Vivekananda presented Hinduism as a world religion, he did so at the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago.

"When Martin Luther King Jr. sought to end discrimination and prejudice against African Americans, he was inspired by
Mahatma Gandhi's nonviolent teachings. Gandhiji himself drew upon the writings of Henry David Thoreau," they said.

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