US pledges to support India in UN as strategic dialogue concludes

23 Sep 2015


The United States has reiterated its support to India's inclusion as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, even as the two countries resolved to build on the present momentum of bilateral relations.

Washington's expression of support to Indian UN council membership comes days after the General Assembly adopted a negotiating text for the long-pending reforms of the powerful wing of the world body.

At the first US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in Washington led by US secretary of state John Kerry and India's external affairs minister Sushma Swraj, the two countries pledged to pursue new areas of collaboration, leveraging the talents of both government and the private sector to make their nations more secure and prosperous.

India and the US emphasised the significance of their partnership to peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific regions and around the globe.

A joint declaration released by the two countries noted that ties between the United States and India have never been stronger – as reflected by unprecedented strategic cooperation, record levels of bilateral trade and investment, and more than 2 million annual visits between their citizens, students, and entrepreneurs.

Notwithstanding, apprehensions appearing in certain quarters following recent developments at the UN headquarters in New York, the US said, it supports India as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

"The US Side reaffirmed its support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member," said the joint statement issued after the conclusion of the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

Both sides committed to ensuring that the Security Council continues to play an effective role in maintaining international peace and security as envisioned in the UN Charter, it said.

According to the joint statement, both India and the US are committed to continued engagement on Security Council reform in the UN Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council Reform.

Security cooperation
Building on successful cooperation in Asia, the two countries welcomed continued cooperation under the Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region agreed by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Both countries also welcomed Japan's participation in the Malabar 2015 naval exercise later this year.

Pledging to continue high level consultations on Afghanistan, both the countries agreed that a sovereign, independent and prosperous Afghanistan is in the interest of peace and security in the region, and will contribute to the global efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.

The two countries resolved to work as partners in responding to the needs of civilians in global crises – both man-made and natural even as the US side appreciated the good work India has done in Nepal during the catastrophic earthquake and in rescuing people from war torn Yeman.

Recognising the centrality of peacekeeping to the UN's efforts for maintenance of international peace and security, the two sides committed themselves to enhance cooperation in peacekeeping capacity building in third countries with a focus on training aspects for UN peacekeepers, especially in identified African countries.

The first ministerial meeting of the India-United States-Japan trilateral would be convened on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2015. They also welcomed Japan's participation in the Malabar 2015 naval exercise later this year.

The US affirmed its support for India's membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime at its upcoming plenary, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and in the other global non-proliferation export control regimes.

The two sides pledged to continue high level consultations on Afghanistan. They also agreed that a sovereign, independent and prosperous Afghanistan is in the interest of peace and security in the region, and will contribute to the global efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.

They called for Iran's timely and thorough implementation of the agreement on regulating its nuclear programme.

In order to strengthen institutional cooperation between ministries, the two countries announced a new `Diplomacy Partnership' between the US state department and India's ministry of external affairs, which will include a new `Policy Planning Dialogue' and coordination on the training of their diplomats through collaboration between respective Foreign Service Institutes.

The two countries pledged to work together to promote the responsible management and rules-based resolution of conflicts in shared maritime and space domains, and cyberspace.

Peace in space and the oceans
They also highlighted their shared commitment to peaceful use of the oceans, freedom of navigation, and protection of the ocean ecosystem. They agreed to explore a new `Oceans Dialogue' to promote sustainable development of the blue economy.

Assessing their outer space cooperation, the two sides noted the launch of a new Space Security Dialogue in March 2015, the exchange of technical data from both countries' national Mars orbiters, and upcoming Civil Space Joint Working Group in Bangalore.

The US side applauded India's proposal to launch a satellite for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in order to expand information sharing and connectivity within the SAARC region. In this spirit, the two countries renewed the US-India Technology Safeguards Agreement to facilitate the launch of US satellite components on Indian space launch vehicles.

On cyber issues, the two countries supported an open, inclusive, transparent, and multi-stakeholder system of internet governance and planned to work together to promote cyber security, combat cyber crime, and advance norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace. They agreed to improve cooperation among technical, law enforcement, cyber R&D, and capacity building.

Economic Growth
In order to drive the US-India partnership forward, the two countries reviewed the outcomes of the first meeting of the reconstituted and expanded US-India CEO Forum held on 21 September 2015. They were briefed on the Forum's recommendations by its US and Indian co-chairs as part of enhanced discussions on commercial and economic issues.

The focus on innovation and entrepreneurship will help improve bilateral cooperation and the two countries agreed to facilitate an innovation forum in 2016 - a platform for US and Indian entrepreneurs to share best practices in promoting a culture of innovation and the creation of sister innovation hubs.

For the ease of doing business, the two sides launched a joint work stream and agreed to continue exchanges of information and best practices on cross-border trade, and to continue commercial law-related initiatives on issues like insolvency and contract enforcement, and transparency. They also agreed to expand cooperation through quarterly discussions on these and other related issues, as may be mutually decided.

They noted the US-India Commercial Dialogue on investment promotion initiatives and the discussions on Totalisation held in Baltimore in August 2015 and welcomed the exchange of information on their respective social security systems.

The two sides welcomed efforts toward the removal of barriers that impact their participation in global supply chains and sustained implementation of trade facilitation measures.

The two countries announced a private sector-led collaboration between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to maintain and update a portal containing standards information for the use of industry, including small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Towards this the two countries have agreed to explore opportunities for cooperation in the development of reference materials between the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in India and the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) in the United States.

They also committed to exchanges between certain regulators with a view to minimising regulatory barriers to bilateral trade.

Building on the success of the 2014 U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue on corrosion control, the sides agreed to continue this public-private collaboration. They recognized India's work to launch a National Mission on Corrosion Control Technologies and Standards.

The countries will facilitate exchanges on technical textiles between centres of excellence in India and US universities. They will encourage industry to participate in trade exhibitions focused on technical textiles in their respective countries. Both sides agreed to consider collaborating on standards in this area, and to address concerns regarding barriers to technical textile exports in the relevant work stream.

Besides the two countries committed themselves to accelerating progress in infrastructure collaboration. Both sides welcomed the start of Smart City master planning activities in Vizag led by a US private sector consortium.

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