History is made with direct access to Headley, a key planner of the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. We worked this issue night and day at the highest levels of the American government. These unprecedented and productive interviews were conducted by the Indian government over a seven day period. We worked our fingers to the bone to make this happen and we are extremely proud of the outcome. This process is symbolic of our overall close collaboration with India on counterterrorism issues.
Archive for June, 2010
I have followed through with our important meetings last week in the Strategic Dialogue with numerous meetings with high level officials in the government here in Washington, D.C. There is a great deal of interest and attention on immediately implementing many of the ideas that have been discussed. I believe that executive and legislative branch policy makers want to broaden and deepen the relationship, and have suggestions about how to achieve results. I have recently met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen to talk about strategic security; met with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to discuss economic security; met with Senator John Kerry and Senator Richard Lugar on the powerful Foreign Relations Committee to counsel on regional issues; and with the National Security Advisor General James Jones to talk about President Obama’s trip to India in November. In a meeting with Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi we reviewed her perspectives on jobs, energy and women’s empowerment issues. There is a profound and growing interest in India’s role in the world.
The Strategic Dialogue with India continued today with a deep and broad discussion in a plenary session touching on several key proposals.
The Indian delegation, lead by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, brought up several key issues including the threat posed by transnational terrorism, which struck the US on 9/11 and Mumbai on 26/11. India was attacked recently in February in the city of Pune by extremists and the U.S. was also threatened with a car packed with explosives recently in Times Square. Both sides pledged to work together to further improve our counterterrorism practices and cooperate on shaping a peaceful and prosperous 21st century.
The discussion between participants included proposals to improve trade and commerce through the exchange of technology, increase efforts to combine research and resources on clean energy, work collectively on education and community colleges, identify development programs to partner on in Afghanistan, and see where common goals come together on Food Security in Africa. The range of topics also covered military cooperation, knowledge societies, women’s empowerment, export controls and technology cooperation, and even building ties toward 2030.
The Indian side included Foreign Secretary Rao, Minister Kapil Sibal, Minister Chavan, Deputy Chairman Dr. Ahluwalia, and Ambassador Shankar. Several prominent secretaries and officials joined them, comprising a very skilled and powerful delegation. The U.S. side was strongly represented by Commerce Secretary Locke, FBI Director Mueller, Under Secretary Burns, Special Envoy Stern, UnderSecretary for Defense Flournoy, White House Science Advisor Dr. Holdren and USAID Administrator Shah. Several talented and articulate advisors and deputies joined them.
President Obama joined the celebration and partnership at the grand reception in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department. This was truly symbolic of the high priority the Obama Adminstration puts on India.
Let me hear from you on your ideas about how to further improve the U.S.-India partnership.
I spoke at the USIBC event where we officially started the week’s events in Washington for the Strategic Dialogue with India. Ten years ago, we would have seen fifty or sixty people gathered together to network and discuss the possibilities of closer relations between these two democracies. This year, more than 500 people attended the event at the National Building Museum to share thoughts, establish connections, and hear about the “indispensable partnership” and “defining relationship of the 21st century” between the US and India.
This dialogue will include strategic discussions between Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna on regional cooperation, intelligence collaboration, energy security, women’s empowerment, development and poverty issues, and education reform. President Obama will attend the reception at the historic Benjamin Franklin Treaty Room at the State Department to highlight the importance of the global partnership between these two multiparty and multicultural countries. The people-to-people ties, and the business-to-business successes, will be spotlighted and expanded by both private sector and public sector initiatives.
High-level and extremely productive events often drive policy activity and new initiatives. After Secretary Clinton’s visit to India in July of 2009, Prime Minister Singh’s State Dinner visit to the White House in November of 2009, the ongoing Strategic Dialogues in June of 2010, and an impending visit to India by President Obama in the Fall of 2010, the relationship is rapidly moving in an historic direction.