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‘India, US can be true strategic partners'

India can be a true ‘strategic partner’ of the United States and the potential of the relationship between the two countries is huge, Congressman Gary Ackerman, chairing the House Foreign Affair Committee has said.

delhi Updated: Jun 26, 2009 23:36 IST
Tushar Srivastava

India can be a true ‘strategic partner’ of the United States and the potential of the relationship between the two countries is huge, Congressman Gary Ackerman, chairing the House Foreign Affair Committee has said.

“Though people tend to focus on cooperation on nuclear energy, I believe the potential of the relationship is much, much greater. With India, we’re moving forward on what I believe can be and will be a true strategic partnership, one built on both shared values and genuine cooperation across a broad range of shared interests,” Ackerman said as US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert Blake gave a “regional overview of South Asia” to the committee.

The recent Indian elections, Ackerman said, held out real hope of a strong government in New Delhi that is ready and willing to address the many political and economic challenges facing a country that, despite its shining achievements in the new economy, remains overwhelmingly rural, agrarian and impoverished.

“I think there is a tremendous opportunity for us to engage successfully with this government across the full spectrum of our interests. Special relationships aren’t announced; they’re built one agreement and one success at a time. It’s time for New Delhi and Washington to get to work,” he said.

Blake said the two countries were making a great deal of progress on the nuclear deal. He expected the Indians to announce two nuclear parks where American companies can go in and provide new reactors during Secretary Hillary Clinton’s visit to India next month.

On the billions of dollars in economic and military assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ackerman remarked, “in many cases it’s not hard to conclude that the money was badly spent, if not completely wasted.