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India visit aimed at strengthening ties: Geithner

world Updated: Apr 03, 2010 11:09 IST

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US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, ahead of his visit to India next week, has said his aim is to deepen America's relationship with the "economically and strategically important" country, where he would discuss global reforms and issue of terrorism financing.

"... I think there's certainly a deep commitment on the President's (Barack Obama) part to strengthen this relationship, a deep appreciation for the challenges India's facing and the common interest we are facing on these kinds of things," Geithner told a group of Indian journalists in Washington.

"I have watched him, listened to the President on this kind of stuff and I know he shares that kind of view very strongly," he said, adding the sole purpose of his two day trip is to deepen and strengthen the bilateral relationship.

Geithner said that terrorism financing is one of the issues that would be part of his talks with Indian officials.

"I can't give you any detail on it (terrorism financing) but I know we will be talking about it as we have always talked about it. We have a lot of very productive, constructive things we have been able to do together on that front, we will keep doing it," he said.

Geithner, who will formally launch the new US-India Economic and Financial Partnership, along with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, said the main purpose of his maiden trip to New Delhi and Mumbai as Treasury Secretary is to work to "establish a long-term" relationship with India.

"I have huge admiration for the policy of India in the economic, financial (sector) and for the Prime Minister and have great admiration for what they have accomplished in dealing with this difficult time," he said.

Geithner said he wants to build a much stronger cooperative partnership with India on broader global financial issues, which are important for both the countries.

"One reason I am going to India is to get a better sense of what is happening there -- both in the economy and the broaden reform process in the financial sector and elsewhere. As always I am going to make sure that the leaders in Indian get to understand directly from me how we are managing our challenges here and how thing feel here," he said.

"I think that in anytime we have these kinds of conversations with a major partner, we spend a lot of time talking about the basic economic challenges in both countries.

In India's case, it is more important and a little different cause, "not just because India is so important to us economically and strategically but it is going to be important because we're at a point in the broaden G-20 progress" and it is crucial that both sides work closely together in trying to set the agenda of reforms, he said.

There is a huge amount of promise in the G-20 framework for cooperation in international, economic and financial issues, Geithner said.

He said the initial response to the financial crisis has demonstrated that they want to make sure that they carry forward the momentum of the commitment to cooperation on the rest of the international reform agenda.

They have also shown a broad interest in strengthening the multilateral financial institutions and on trying to make sure that as recovery strengthens they are putting in place a more balanced pattern of growth globally that will provide prospective of a more durable, stable recovery in the future, he said.

By establishing a long-term relationship with India, Geithner explained, the US wants to build a much stronger cooperative bilateral partnership on broader global financial issues, which he thinks are important to both countries.

"We think that as we are reforming the architecture of the system, we want to make sure that countries like India are playing a rule of compensability to overcome (the crisis) using their economic strengths. As we do as much as we can, we understand where relative interest lies and how we can advance those interests," he said.

Geithner, who would be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh besides Finance Minister Mukherjee and other top Indian officials, said he does not "actually sense a lot of tension or disagreement with India" on the core parts of global financial reforms.

But that does not mean it is not worth talking about it because it is good for both countries to be close on these things, he observed.

"As you know we are going through a transforming set of reforms here in the financial sector and we have negotiated in the G-20 process a set of broader international principles for reform so that we are moving in parallel, not separately in this area and I am sure I will have a chance to talk with them about what we are doing in the United States and what we want to see by the major economies as well," said the Treasury Secretary.

To a question about the sense of dismay in India on some of the statements made by the US President about American jobs being 'Bangalored', Geithner said: "This President understands deeply, as much as any President in American history and may be more because of his personal experience, how important the world is to the United States, economically, strategically."

"He (Obama) understands that America would be stronger if the world was stronger. So I think you will see in him policies that are completely consistent with that basic orientation, that basic judgment, those basic values."