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Indo-US nuke deal will be taken forward: Clinton

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A file photo of the White House, Washington D C

WASHINGTON (PTI): Indo-US nuclear deal allows the US to move beyond concerns about the status of India's nuclear program, an issue that dominated the relationship between the two countries for much of the last decade, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Terming the nuclear deal as a "landmark agreement" for both the countries, she said the Obama administration is fully committed to implement the civil nuclear pact.

The agreement carries a strong bipartisan support in both India and the US, Clinton said addressing a meeting of Indian and US corporate leaders at the Synergies Summit of the US India Business Council.

"This second stage in our (US India) history continued through the last US and Indian administrations and culminated in completion of the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement, this past October, under the Bush administration," Clinton said.

"This landmark accord, which the Obama administration is fully committed to implementing, provides a framework for economic and technical cooperation, between our two countries, and allows us to move beyond our concerns about the status of India's nuclear program, an issue that dominated our relationship for much of the last decade," Clinton said.

The nuclear deal, which was completed through the efforts of former President Bush, Clinton said, removed the final barrier to broader cooperation between the two countries. "That brings us to today," she said.

When the US-India nuclear deal passed the United States Congress, last year, Clinton said it had strong bipartisan support, including backing from two former Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden, as well as herself.

"The agreement also received support from across the political spectrum in India. The formation of India's new government is an opportunity to strengthen our ties and launch new initiatives," she said.

"Now that the government is in place, we are moving quickly to strengthen our ties. Our senior career diplomats, Undersecretary of State Bill Burns and newly minted Assistant Secretary of State Bob Blake, have returned from India this weekend to tell me of the enormous potential for progress in our relationship with New Delhi," Clinton said.

Reflecting on the six decades of relationship between the United States and India, she said, it hasn't always had such a promising partnership.

"We need to acknowledge the road we have travelled together. We have already come through two distinct eras in US-India relations on our way to this new beginning," Clinton said.

"The first era opened with India's founding and lasted to the end of the Cold War. It was coloured by uncertainty about each other's motives and ambivalence about whether to pursue closer cooperation," she said.

Though the relationship between our countries was never hostile, Clinton observed it missed opportunities for closer partnership during this period were casualties of old conflicts between East and West and North and South.

"After the Cold War ended, President (Bill) Clinton opened a new chapter of engagement with India," Clinton said.

"Talks between former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and his Indian counterpart helped to establish a new foundation for our relationship. And of course, my husband and daughter had an extraordinary visit toward the end of his term in office," Clinton said.

The Secretary of State termed the Indo-US nuclear deal as the second era and said the Obama Administration is determined to take it to the third stage.

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