The United States says its civil nuclear deal with India has removed an obstacle in the growth of their relations, but there's a lot of hard work left to do to implement the agreement.
"Well, the future is wide open, obviously. We have removed one of those obstacles to more full, broader and deeper relations between the United States and India," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters on Monday.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is seeking to build on this relationship, talking about how the two countries might cooperate further in political, economic as well as diplomatic endeavours, he said.
"There are a number of different interests that we have in common. And in the coming months and in the remaining two years (of Bush administration), I'm sure you will see the secretary work with her Indian counterparts to build on the good start that we have," McCormack said.
However, at this point he had nothing to announce by way of any high-level visits. In large part, these relationships are going to be governed by nongovernmental interactions, business interactions, people-to-people exchanges, US students studying in India, Indian students studying in the United States, he said.
In reply to a question about cross-border terrorism between Pakistan and Afghanistan, McCormack said, "Sure. It's still a problem. And the Afghan government knows it, the Pakistani government knows it, and we have been involved and continue to be involved with both governments."
Pakistan has an interest in a stable, prosperous, democratic Afghanistan. The rest of the region including India has an interest in that as well, he said.
"And clearly the rest of the world does as well. NATO has a lot of troops on the ground there. So everybody wants to see that situation more stable over the long term. Part of that equation is getting at the infiltration going both ways of Taliban terrorists along that border area," McCormack said.
"We have a trilateral commission that is set up to improve the communications between the two governments as well as to improve the effectiveness of their efforts to stop cross-border infiltrations going both ways."
"Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have responsibilities in this regard. They have improved their coordination. They have improved somewhat the effectiveness of that coordination, but there is clearly a lot more that needs to be done," McCormack said.
In response to a question about Bangladesh, McCormack said US is in close contact with the caretaker government. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nick Burns had talked on the phone to the head of this government a month ago urging them to be as inclusive as possible in the election process.
"I know that there were some concerns about by at least one significant party in the election process," he said.
But "Bangladeshis are going to have to work through all of these issues themselves. What we encourage is an electoral process that is free, fair and transparent, is as inclusive as possible for all responsible parties, so that when you do have a result it is a result that can be accepted by the Bangladeshi population as a whole" McCormack said.