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India has 'fundamental' role in Asia-Pacific security, growth: US

04 February 2015

A day after President Barack Obama unveiled the US annual budget, which is perceived to give a new thrust to Asia-Pacific initiatives, the White House said it sees India as a "fundamental provider" of security and economic growth across the region.

"In so many ways, as the US implements our re-balance, we see India as a fundamental provider of security and economic growth across the region," Phil Reiner, senior director South Asia Affairs at the National Security Council of the White House, told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.

Reiner said that during the recently concluded summit meeting between Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, the two nations agreed to "develop a bilateral road map" to put essence behind this strategic vision.

Describing Obama's India visit as "highly successful" and a "game-changing opportunity", Reiner said that with the meeting of two leaders in just five months, the two countries have really turned things towards a new beginning, a new energy and a new momentum. "The future [of the India +US relationship] is bright, and I believe the sky is the limit," he said.

This bilateral strategic partnership is a priority that the President has made since the beginning of his Administration, he said.

"The Republic Day invitation itself represents a seminal moment in our bilateral partnership. I think many were surprised by the Prime Minister's issuance of the invitation, and the President was excited and gratified to accept to be the first chief guest as US President," he said.

Reiner said the efforts with this visit was to not just ride the current wave of the moment, but to look for opportunities to try and step up what the two countries have been trying to do in recent past.

"As the first President in US history to have the honour to be chief guest and the first President to visit India twice during his tenure, we were incredibly excited to use this as a game-changing opportunity," he said.

At the same time, the White House official cautioned that there might be challenges in the relationship despite the two successful summits in the last five months.

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