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Obama's India visit will have deliverables: Crowley

Narayan Lakshman

Washington: United States President Barack Obama's visit to India in November will have “deliverables,” although the agenda for his trip is still evolving, a senior State Department official has said.

Speaking at a media briefing, P.J. Crowley, State Department spokesman, said he could not confirm any specifics regarding what the key elements of the President's trip would be, but “I won't rule out that there will be... deliverables, as we call them, when you have presidential travel to critical countries.” Mr. Crowley added that he was aware that the agenda was still being developed for his trip.

Broad agenda

In response to a question from The Hindu on whether the nuclear liability bill, the easing of export control restrictions and the future of India's role in Afghanistan would feature in the discussions, Mr. Crowley said: “I am anticipating a broad agenda, [and] would not be surprised if some of the issues that you have ticked off are part of that discussion.” He noted that India as a global player would also be essential in solving the climate change challenge.

Responding to a question on what steps the U.S. could take to assuage any anxieties that India might have regarding the denouement in Afghanistan, Mr. Crowley reiterated that the U.S. was “pursuing a regional strategy, which is why we have expanded our discussions with other countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and other countries in the region, and we are not ruling out cooperation with Iran when it comes to Afghanistan.”

Arguing that the U.S. expected India to develop its own relationship with Afghanistan, the spokesman said it could not be seen within a “zero-sum calculation.” He said that if the countries in the region developed trading relationships and economic interests, that could have an impact on reducing regional tensions.

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