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Progress and Challenges in India Trip

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit to India continued to point toward a strengthening of ties after a series of official and nontraditional diplomatic contacts. Clinton, the most senior Obama administration official to visit India, delivered a July 20 speech atĀ Delhi University stressing a "comprehensive strategic approach" (NYT) to U.S.-India relations, as well as greater exchanges among business people, students, and civil society actors. The talk came ahead of the signing of an agreement to allow the United States to monitor military equipment it sells to India to safeguard nonproliferation, and that would open the way to significant arms deals (Reuters). Clinton said Indian officials had also approved two sites for U.S. companies to build nuclear power plants. In addition, she said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had accepted an invitation to make a state visit to Washington in November.

But her visit so far has also highlighted lingering disagreements between the two governments, especially on climate change, and a U.S. push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the developing world. Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on July 19 that India is not in a position to "take legally binding emissions targets" (WashPost).

In an Expert Brief, CFR's Evan A. Feigenbaum says the United States should be prepared to manage its disagreements with India over issues like climate change by focusing on the greater potential for bilateral economic deals. "One way forward," he writes, "would be to agree on innovative bilateral initiatives-for instance, a U.S.-India renewable energy partnership, or a U.S.-India Bilateral Investment Treaty-that could provide ballast if the United States and India continue to disagree on multilateral climate and trade arrangements." Sumit Ganguly and S. Paul Kapur note in Foreign Affairs...

Continue reading at CFR.org →

 
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