New envoy sets n-deal, breaking Doha impasse on top of agenda


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May 6, 2009
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July 7th, 2009

Washington, July 8 (IANS) Barack Obama’s nominee to be his envoy in India has set taking the civil nuclear deal forward and breaking the impasse on the Doha Round as key priorities in forming a strategic partnership with New Delhi, saying the president had told him personally of his great interest in the “US-India partnership”.

“What is so interesting and rewarding in the president nominating me for this position is the future,” Timothy Roemer, 52, a distinguished scholar and former Democratic congressman, told the Senate Foreign Relations panel at his confirmation hearing Tuesday.

“…the people-to-people relationships, the business-to-business relationships, the global possibilities of two great democracies moving forward and defining solutions to the biggest problems in the 21st century, and the strategic partnerships that can be formed,” he said.

Noting that the building of a relationship with India “over the last several decades has been a bipartisan success,” Roemer said Obama had told him “personally on a couple different occasions how interested he is in this issue of US-Indian partnerships.”

The president had also told him how successful his meeting went with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in London at the G-20, he said adding, “I look forward to working with Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton, who is very interested in travelling to India soon.”

Roemer, one of the early backers of Obama who is said to have played a key role in his electoral victory in Indiana, said in the midst of the global meltdown, one of the US priorities is to work to break the impasse on the Doha Round and facilitate fair and free trade to create jobs in the United States.

“This is a key issue, to break down barriers, to increase trade, trade that is increased from about $13 billion to over $44 billion in the last six years.”

The US also wanted to make sure that the legacy issues around the civilian-nuclear deal are resolved in a positive way so US businesses can get access to the nuclear-reactor parks in India and create jobs in the US.

Yet another important issue moving forward, in this strategically vital relationship, is a broader agreement on counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism issues for stability in the region, Roemer said suggesting an expansion of “intelligence sharing and best practices on homeland security, so that we don’t see another Mumbai attack.”

A third important issue is broadening and expanding the defence and military-to-military relationships that also can result in jobs in America, he said.

“As India seeks to modernise its military, from fighter jets to vessels in the Indian Ocean, to help fight piracy and preserve trading lanes in the Indian Ocean, a strategically important area for us and for them, the end-user monitoring agreement and concluding that task force and working arrangements in the Indian Ocean, on security issues, are key.”

He also suggested a broadening of cooperation on higher education and education reform noting the Indians send about 94,000 students to the US.

Noting that India has some excellent universities, Roemer said joint ventures with US universities could “provide opportunities for us, to create opportunities for Indians overseas, for our land-grant colleges and agricultural universities, to help with a new green revolution in India.”

On the issue on climate change and clean energy too there are very many opportunities for the two countries to work together, he said.

Roemer served in the US House of Representatives from 1991-2003 before becoming the president of the Centre for National Policy (CNP), a Washington, DC-based national security think tank. He also served on the blue-ribbon commission investigating the Sep 11, 2001 terror attacks on the US and on a key committee to prevent nuclear proliferation.

New envoy sets n-deal, breaking Doha impasse on top of agenda | Sindh Today - Online News

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