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Millennium Post

US wants to trade even more with India: Obama

"In the last few years, trade between our two countries increased by some 60 per cent, total record of USD 100 billion. We want to trade even more," he said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.

Obama, who is on a three-day visit, also welcomed the economic reforms being pursued by the government.

"...(we) welcome the reforms that the Prime Minister is pursuing to make it easier to do business here in India," he said, adding the trade and economic partnership must focus on improving the daily lives of "our people".

"Prime Minister Modi describes for me his ambitious efforts to empower more Indians with bank accounts and to ensure clean water, clean air of Indian people and we want to be partners in these efforts," Obama said.

He also said the two sides have agreed to resume discussions on the Bilateral Investment Treaty.

The proposed pact is aimed at protecting investments between the two nations.

The Modi-government, which assumed power in May 2014, has taken a slew of measures to attract foreign investments, including further liberalisation of FDI norms in the defence and insurance sectors.

The government is also taking steps toward making in easier to do business in India.

On the insurance liability clause, India has been telling the US that it will build a pool that will indemnify American reactor builders against liability in case of an accident.

"Today, we achieved a breakthrough on two issues that were holding up our ability to advance our civil nuclear cooperation and we are committed to moving towards full implementation," Obama said in his remarks.

"This is an important step that shows how we can work together to elevate our relationship," he said.

Modi said Obama has also assured him of strong US efforts in support of India's full membership of the four international export control regimes at the earliest.

"Today, we have also decided to take our growing defence cooperation to a new level. We have agreed, in principle, to pursue co-development and co-production of specific advanced defence projects.

"These will help upgrade our domestic defence industry; and expand the manufacturing sector in India. We will also explore cooperation in other areas of advanced defence technologies," he said.

On terrorism, the Prime Minister said it remains a principal global threat taking on a new character even as existing challenges persist.

"We agreed that we need a comprehensive global strategy and approach to combat with it. There should be no distinction between the terrorist groups. Every country must fulfil its commitments to eliminate terrorists safe havens and bring terrorists to justice," he said.

Modi said the two countries will deepen their bilateral security cooperation against terrorist groups and further enhance counter-terrorism capabilities including in the area of technology.

Touching on regional cooperation, Modi said the two countries renewed their commitment to deepen cooperation to advance peace, stability, prosperity in Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region which is critical for the future of the two countries and the world.

Modi said they also discussed working on how to help in the transformation of Afghanistan, apparently after complete withdrawal of the US troops.

Obama said both the countries are going to be strong and reliable partners for people of Afghanistan.

The two leaders said they have decided to scale up their economic relationship including holding talks in future on a bilateral investment treaty.

Modi said India and the US will also restart discussions on a social security agreement which is important for the hundreds of thousands of Indian professionals working in the US.
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