Millennium Post

US, India to discuss progress on defence: Kerry

He also said that they expected India to sign a landmark climate change agreement in Paris at the end of this year and this would be part of the discussions Obama will have with Prime Minister Modi.

Obama will be in India as chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations this year. He will also have discussions with Modi on bilateral and other issues.

"We will try to make progress on issues like defence agreements, civil nuclear agreement as well as economic progress," Kerry told reporters here giving the outline of the discussion with Modi.

"We are also working together to strengthen maritime security. We are strengthening our partnership to combat terrorism, piracy and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are committed to regional dialogue on key political and security issues," he said.

After the landmark nuclear deal between the two countries in 2008, cooperation in the sector has been stalled over the tough provisions in the Civil Nuclear Liability Act that have come as a dampener for foreign operators.

Speaking about his Sunday's meeting with Modi, Kerry said, "I had productive discussion with prime minister Narendra Modi when president Obama is coming here next month.

Obama is honoured to be invited as a chief guest at the Republic Day parade and is going to be the first sitting president to be on a visit to India for the second time".

Kerry, who is here to take part in the seventh edition of the Vibrant Gujarat summit, his second visit to India after Modi took over as prime minister, also said that he is impressed by the event.

"We expect to sign a landmark climate change agreement with India in Paris at the end of this year. And I know that this topic would be part of President Obama's discussion with the prime minister during his upcoming visit," he said.

Kerry said the fact this is the second visit of the President after Modi's visit to Washington displays the value both countries place to the criticality of the relationship.

"During my meeting with Prime Minister Modi we reviewed the progress of our economic relationship and discussed steps on how to take it to the next level," Kerry said.

"I have seen ups and downs of the relationship (between India and US) in the last 30 years," he said, adding, "We have heard about talks of promise of this relationship, but now it is being totally implemented."

"Four top ranking visits by US ministers...I am back here and President Obama is going to come on the second visit (to India) represents the fact that we are all invested in this relationship as we recognise that what this moment offers to us but also what it demands of us," Kerry said.

"I am convinced that India and US will create healthier, more secure and prosperous environment not just for us but surely our policies will have impact on the world," he said.

In a reply to a question on the change after Modi took over as Prime Minister and opportunities it provide for Indo-US economic relationship, Kerry said, "I am impressed by what I have seen here at Vibrant Gujarat Summit. Numbers of businesses, enthusiasm, energy and excitement of people to engage in entrepreneurial activities, not just with the US but worldwide...its palpable you can feel it, you can touch it."

He said Gujarat has an opportunity to gain significantly from the summit. Modi has built a reputation here by building efficiency, trying to make decisions faster, by streamlining bureaucracy...these can be extrapolated to rest of India.

"All businesses want confidence in their decision to allocate capital. Capital works best with confidence," Kerry said.

He also said that US investment in India has risen from 300 million to 9 billion, while India's investment in the US has risen from 2.4 billion to 25 billion.
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