Page 57 - IACC Newsletter August-September 2013 Issue 13

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Obama-Singh meeting to re-energize Indo-US ties: Inderfurth
US President Barack Obama's meeting with Prime Ministe
here on Friday is expected to re-energize
the India-US relationship, a top former American diplomat has said, but cautioned against expectations of any major
breakthrough.
"I think the principle benefit would be greater visibility to the relationship at the highest level with President Obama and
Prime Minister Singh," Karl F 'Rick' Inderfurth, the former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs.
We can make some progress and some movement, but neither side can expect any major breakthroughs between now
and the Indian elections. Again we do not want to go backwards. We can go forward. That is why; I am very pleased that
President Obama invited Prime Minister Singh to Washington. Singh has been a very very big proponent of taking the
US-India relationship to the next level and I think this is an acknowledgement of that," he said in response to a question.
"There are concerns that US reached a plateau or we may be on the doldrums. I do not agree with those things. But I
understand that people need to see attention at the highest level, re-energize the relationship, re-kindle the
relationship. So I think that would be the principle thing that I would like to accomplish," said Inderfurth, who is
currently a Senior Adviser and Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy Studies of the Center for Strategic and International
Studies (CSIS), a prestigious American think-tank.
Inderfurth said there are so many things that are taking place within the United States and India that do not relate to the
bilateral relationship.
While the Obama Administration is focused on the Syrian crisis, the government shut down and the Congress; the Singh
Government has to spend its time and energy on economic situation, and the upcoming elections.
"So there are good reasons why both countries are not focusing much on each other. So what President Obama and
Prime Minister Singh can do to remind people that this is one of the most important relationship that we have and to
talk about some of the unfinished business that we might try to accomplish in the next few months," Inderfurth said.
Responding to questions, Inderfurth said trade and economic issues is at the top of the agenda.
"One important piece of the unfinished business is the bilateral investment treaty. This would send a strong signal to the
private sector in both countries that we want to accelerate the economic and trade relationship," he said, adding there
are number of issues that the two sides have right now, including the issues being raised by many members of the US
Congress about certain Indian practices.
"I think the President and the Prime Minister can discuss those," he said.
The US, he said, wants to be a larger investor in India than it is and wants to do more than $100 billion in two way trade.
The two leaders can access the situation, share where they are and see what can be done.