Foreign Secretary Rao discusses UNSC permanent seat for India with top U.S. officials

Washington, Sept.18 (ANI): Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has revealed that she discussed the issue of India being given a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) with senior Obama administration officials.

Speaking in an interview to ANI TV here after concluding her talks with American officials on Thursday, Rao said: "We were able to discuss the entire gamut of bilateral relations and also look at the regional and global situation. We talked about India's candidature for permanent seat in the Security Council and the U.S approach to that."

"We spoke about export controls and high technology exports and the removal of U.S. controls on such exports to India. As you know, both the sides are discussing this matter at the moment," she further added.

Rao also revealed that officials of the two sides spoke about co-operation in such areas as in agriculture, health, education and weather forecasting.

"You know, the whole relationship, the strategic partnership, the global strategic partnership has flowered in a number of areas. This is a reflection of the change, the dynamic change, the transformational change in the relationship between India and the United States," she said.

She said that she had met U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her counterpart Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, and discussed modalities for President Barack Obama's November visit to India.

"I am basically here to prepare for the visit of President Obama to India this coming November. So, in my meeting we discussed the agenda for the visit and what both sides hope to achieve as outcomes for the visit. And, I had a series of meetings, as I just said, not only with my counterpart Under Secretary of State William Burns, but I called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I also met the National Security Advisor General Jim Jones."Commenting on the latest developments related to civil nuclear cooperation between India and the United States and the Nuclear Liability Bill, Rao said: "The bill has been passed by the (Indian) parliament, and we were able to brief the U.S. side about the bill, and the fact that it is not discriminatory against any foreign supplier of nuclear power equipment to India, and that we would like U.S companies, as we would like other foreign companies to engage in serious discussions with our nuclear power in industry to take such co-operation forward."

The Nuclear Liability Bill is crucial for American firms such as General Electric and Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of Japan's Toshiba Corp, which are reluctant to step in without clarity on accident compensation.

Rao said that she also met Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen O. Tauscher, senior Pentagon official Michhle A. Flournoy and members of the Department of Commerce. (ANI)

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