No US pressure on India to resume talks with Pak: Clinton | delhi | Hindustan Times
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No US pressure on India to resume talks with Pak: Clinton

In an interview to Rajdeep Sardesai on the eve of her visit to India, US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has endorsed the outcome of the Indo-Pak summit in Egypt and also praised Pakistan's 'commitment' to fighting terror.

delhi Updated: Jul 17, 2009 23:49 IST

On the eve of her visit to India, the first by a high ranking member of the Obama administration, US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has endorsed the outcome of the Indo-Pak summit in Egypt and also praised Pakistan's 'commitment' to fighting terror.

Speaking to CNN IBN in a wide ranging interview, Clinton denied that there was any US pressure to get India and Pakistan back on the dialogue table.

"There was no pressure at all on the two countries. I am very impressed with PM Singh meeting both President Zardari and now Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan. This dialogue between Indian and Pakistanis certainly one that could only be pushed forward with the agreement and commitment of the two countries and its leaders, but of course United Statesis very supportive of whatever steps are taken and any agreement that Indiaand Pakistanmight reach."

Clinton also expressed confidence that Pakistan was serious about bringing the culprits of Mumbai 26/11 to book and fighting the war against terror.

"I think the Pakistangovernment has shown real commitment to pursuing the Mumbai terrorists and their associated organizations who provide the training and the employment of terrorists. I think you will find that Pakistan's own fight against these extremists is giving the Pakistani people a greater understanding and there is a greater level of commitment through the continuing struggle against the terrorist," she said.

"I really see events moving in a very positive direction between India and Pakistan in part because of the shared sacrifice, commitment and understanding that now exists about the fact that the organisations of terrorists pose a smiliar threat to both of your countries and to the safety and well being of your people," she added.

Clinton also claimed that the Obama administration remained committed to the Indo-US nuclear deal and indicated that its future was not contingent on India signing the NPT. At the same time, she said that the Obama administration remained concerned about non-proliferation.

"What I want to speak to your leaders is what the possible new approaches to non proliferation might be, and to find a global and regional regime that would apply to Indiaas well as other nations. The Obama administration is, as our other G-8 members, very concerned about proliferation," she said

"The United State is very committed to our nuclear agreement with India, but I want to hear from the Indian leaders what they believe would be the useful step that we could mutually pursue that would avoid the concern that I think we share about such material falling into the wrong hands."

Clinton also said that climate change was a critical area in the Obama administration's foreign policy initiative and would be raised in her talks with Indian leaders, but denied that Washingtonwas putting pressure on Indiato agree to an emission cap, claiming that the issue would be resolved through mutual agreement.

She said, "what I am looking for and what I am anticipating discussing with Indian leaders is how together we can make a fight against climate change a win-win proposition. Certainly you will not hear from me or president Obama or our administration any desire to prevent the continuing development of India."

"We understand the great commitment the Indian government and the people have, to improving the living standard of hundreds and millions of people who deserve to have a good life and a better future for their children, but we also understand the great threat posed by climate change to coastal countries like India," she said.

Following is the transcript of the interview with CNN IBN editor-in-chief, Rajdeep Sardesai.

Rajdeep: Madam secretary, the Bush administration has affected strategic shift in its relationship with India, where India was seen as the major partner of US in the region. Is the Obama Administration equally committed to taking that relationship forward to seeing India as a major player in Asia?

Hillary: Absolutely, in my recent speech on the Obama administration's priorities, I clearly said we see India as a partner, a global partner. I am really pleased that when I come to India, we are going to be announcing a very broad comprehensive agenda for dialogue that minister Krishna and I would be leading.

We see India as an economic power, a strategic partner, a country that has unlimited potential and of course, I am very pleased that I have the opportuniy to take forward the commitment that my husband, then president had made 14 years ago. I supported the steps that Bush administration took as you may know and was part of the India Caucus. So it's a particular privilege for me to be in this position at this time to be coming to Indiaand to be pursuing a deeper and broader relationship between our two countries.

Rajdeep: Madam Secretary, the corner store of that strategic relationship fashioned by the Bush administration was the Indo-US nuclear deal. Now is the Obama administration just as committed to taking that deal forward? I ask this as the recent G-8 declaration regarding restriction on transfer of atomic technology to non-NPT states, has led some in India to believe that the Obama administration is determined to get Indiato sign the NPT before we move forward.

Hillary: Well of course we are committed to the civil nuclear agreement that was signed during the Bush administration. I hope to have some announcements about the continuing implementation of that agreement when I arrive in India and I want to discuss with Indian leaders, how we can work together for a common purpose of preventing the proliferation of nuclear material and weapons to state and non-state actors that pose a threat to India to the Unites States and to the many countries around the world.

So of course, there will be a very serious discussion that will begin with my visit and continue to our important strategic dialogue, but I think we share a common desire to make sure that we don't have irresponsible state and especially a non-state actor like a terrorist network acquiring weapons that we know should not be in there hands.

Rajdeep: Are we to believe then that the clean waiver India got from the nuclear suppliers group last year will override all else, that you will go ahead with these various nuclear agreements on your trip here and therefore the Obama administration is not making the signing NPT, as critical to furthering this strategic relationship?

Hillary: Well, what I want to speak to your leaders about is, what the possible new approaches to non proliferation might be and look at the global and regional regime that would stand for Indiaas well as other nations.

The Obama administration is, as are other G-8 members you referenced in the agreement that they put out, very concerned about proliferation. The United State is very committed to our nuclear agreement with India, but I want to hear from the Indian Leaders what they believe would be the useful step that we could mutually pursue that would avoid the concern that I think we share about such material falling into the wrong hands.

Rajdeep: Madam, your coming to India the time when India and Pakistan have just revived their dialogue. There is a feeling here that it was the US, which was pressurising India to return to the dialogue table. Was there that kind of pressure?

Hillary: No, not at all; I am very impressed with PM Singh meeting both President Zardari and now with Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan. This dialogue between Indian and Pakistanis certainly one that could only be pursued with the agreement and commitment of the two countries and the leaders, but of course United States is very supportive with steps that India might take towards any agreement that India and Pakistan might reach.

Rajdeep: Madam Secretary some fear that the US still not doing to enough pressure on Pakistan to bring those responsible for the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai to book that the US sole focus is on Pakistan's fight against Taliban, not so much on Islamabad taking on home grown terror groups like Lashkar or the Jaish?

Hillary: Well. I don't think that's an accurate perception. We have engaged in very important ongoing discussion with the Pakistani forces, civilian government as well as the military, about the importance of standing up against terrorist and extremist no matter who they are and where they might strike.

Infact, I think in the last few days there has been a real commitment that was discussed between Prime Minister Gilani and Prime Minister Singh about the commitment of the Pakistani government to pursuing the Mumbai terrorists and their associated organisations who provide the training and the employment of terrorists.

I think you will find that Pakistan's own fight against these extremists is giving the Pakistani people a greater understanding and level of commitment through the continuing struggle against the terrorist so I really see events moving in a very positive direction between India and Pakistan, in part because of the shared sacrifice commitment and understanding that now exists about the fact that the organisations of terrorists pose to both of your countries and safety and well-being of your people

Rajdeep: Madam Secretary, you made climate change also a key issue in your foreign policy. Now the UShouse of representatives has passed a bill which imposes trade restrictions to countries which do not sign to an emissions cap. Are you aware of Indian concerns that if such a bill is passed in the US senate it could hurt developing countries like India?

Hillary: Well what I am looking for and what I'm anticipating discussing with Indian leaders is how together we can make a fight against climate change a win-win proposition. Certainly you will not hear from me or president Obama or our administration any desire to prevent the continuing development of India.

We understand the great commitment the Indian Government and the people have, to improving the living standard of hundreds and millions of people who deserve to have a good life and a better future for their children, but we also understand the great threat posed by climate change to coastal countries like India.

Rajdeep: Well I must ask you the one final question, the last time you were in India, you came as the First lady of US, and this time you are coming as a Secretary of State, any memories from that visit? Anything particular thing you would like to see or do on this visit to India?

Hillary: Well the last time I came I was the Senator from New York and I was last in India in 2005 and have wonderful memories from that trip as I do from my previous trips, once representing our country at the funeral of Mother Teresa in Calcutta and of course the trip that I took with my daughter which was so memorable and just leaves me with many positive and warm feelings about India and the people of India.

Rajdeep: Madam Secretary, appreciate your joining us we look forward to having you here in Indiaand hope we have a positive outcome from your visit to this country

Hillary: I am very confident of it, we are going to deep and broaden our relationships on so many fronts and I am excited to see the growth and the potential of India being realised.