Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hillary Clinton Day Three in India: Signs nuclear sites and defence pact

On Monday, July 20th, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton started off her day with a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. During their meeting they discussed terrorism and Pakistan as well as ways to enhance bilateral relations, among other topics I'm sure.

She arrived at the Prime Minister's office at 7 Race Course Road in New Delhi, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador-designate Timothy Roemer and others. Manmohan Singh also hosted lunch for Secretary Clinton.

She also met with the leader of the Opposition, L.K. Advani outside of his residence in New Delhi. He greeted her with a big bouquet of roses.

/s400/610x-15.jpg" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5361472206548094162" /> Sonia Gandhi, who is also chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), voiced optimism about the future of India-U.S. relations and expressed concern on the use of terrorism by Pakistan against India.

Secretary Clinton also held delegation-level talks with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna later in the day. They both looked at ways to take their strategic ties to a new level and signed three agreements, including a strategically important Defense pact.

Clinton and Krishna signed the agreements at Hyderabad House in the national capital. Addressing media, Clinton said the two sides had agreed an “end-use monitoring” accord that would provide safeguards for the sale of highly sophisticated U.S. weaponry to India.

The agreement “will pave the way for greater defense cooperation” Clinton said, adding that India had also approved two sites for the construction of U.S. nuclear reactors.

However, before U.S. firms will bid to build nuclear reactors at the two sites approved by India, they need liability protection. Clinton said she hoped the Indian government could secure this soon.

U.S. officials estimate the two nuclear sites represent up to $10 billion in business for U.S. nuclear reactor builders such as General Electric Co. and Westinghouse Electric Co, a subsidiary of Japan's Toshiba Corp.

As part their efforts to strengthen ties, the two countries agreed to form a "strategic dialogue" led by Clinton and Krishna who scheduled to meet annually.

Read the full transcript of Hillary's remarks with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna here!

Below is a GREAT video of raw footage of Hillary and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna as well as their full remarks and the signing of the agreement. WORTH the watch!

News video on meeting the Prime Minister:

News video from today's top Hillary Stories:

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