India and the US have a lot of distance to cover before PM Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama can clinch landmark deals.
Foreign minister S.M. Krishna had his first meeting with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday.
The US side, in a briefing by Assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Robert Blake, outlined some key areas where difference remained:
There is no closure yet on India’s demand for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. “That is something that is under discussion as we prepare for the President’s visit,” Blake said.
India wants easing of technology controls on US defence exports to go. But Blake said, “I think we’re looking to find a positive way forward, but we’re not quite there yet..”
On the nuclear liability bill, he said, “We’ve taken note of some of the concerns that industry representatives have raised about some of the provisions of the liability bill and that the bill may possibly be inconsistent with international standards.”
But Blake said he was hopeful of sorting out these “irritants”.
Addressing a separate briefing in New York, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, was more positive about some of these issues. She said there was a growing “convergence” between the two nations on Security Council reform and that the US’s defence and technology regimes were “anachronistic.”