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Study urges Obama to forge stronger US-India ties

world Updated: Jan 17, 2009 08:49 IST
Study urges Obama to forge stronger US-India ties

The incoming Obama administration should forge a strong partnership with India to tackle common problems such as terrorism and the global financial crisis, an Asia Society task force said on Friday.

"India matters to virtually every major foreign policy issue that will confront the United States in the years ahead," said the New York-based society, which promotes scholarship and exchanges with Asia.

"A broad-based, close relationship with India will thus be necessary to solve complex global challenges, achieve security in the critical South Asian region, re-establish stability in the global economy, and overcome the threat of violent Islamic radicalism," it said.

The report noted that in 1998 the United States had sanctioned India over its nuclear tests, but last year they consummated a civilian nuclear deal that will give India access to US nuclear technology.

More recent events, the bloody November militant attacks in the Indian commercial center of Mumbai and the global financial meltdown, underscored the need and the opportunity for the two large democracies to work together, the report said.

"The new relationship rests on a convergence of US and Indian national interests, and never in our history have they been so closely aligned," it said.

The task force, headed by former top diplomats and business leaders from the two countries, said the two countries could work together in areas such as expanding trade, environmental issues and climate change, nonproliferation and public health.

President-elect Barack Obama, who takes office on January 20, should boost governmental relations by helping secure Indian membership in multilateral institutions where global decisions are made, expanding counterterrorism cooperation and forging a bilateral investment treaty, the report said.

US-Indian public-private projects should be formed to help meet India's vast secondary and higher education needs, to spread HIV/AIDS awareness and to help boost agricultural output through technology, the task force recommended.