Clinton Set to Stress U.S.-India Economic Ties

Posted July 20th, 2011 at 5:00 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is visiting India's southeastern city of Chennai Wednesday, where she is set to deliver a speech on the importance of U.S.-Indian economic ties.

Clinton is also scheduled to meet with representatives of U.S. companies as she closes a two-day trip to India.

On Tuesday, Clinton and her Indian counterpart, S.M. Krishna, urged Pakistan to do more to eliminate “terrorist sanctuaries” on its territory, both for the sake of its own interests and those of the region.

Clinton said the U.S. and India are united in fighting terrorism, and that Pakistan is a key ally in that fight.

She said the importance of confronting extremists became even more clear after last week's triple bombings in India's financial hub, Mumbai, which killed 20 people and wounded more than 130 others.

The top U.S. diplomat said Washington welcomed recent efforts by India and Pakistan to renew talks that had stalled after the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai by Pakistani-based militants that killed 166 people. Clinton added that the dialogue is the “most promising” approach for building confidence between the two nations.

Following the talks, India's foreign minister called for caution in the U.S. troop drawdown from Afghanistan. He said an abrupt withdrawal could undermine India's relationship with Afghanistan and lead to a return to power of the anti-Indian Taliban at the expense of Afghan groups with close ties to India.

Clinton also stressed the need for stronger Indian financial ties with the United States, calling for more open markets and increased sales of U.S. arms to India.

She said Washington remains fully committed to expanding cooperation with India under the 2008 civil nuclear cooperation deal. But she added the two sides need to resolve all outstanding issues related to the accord, which could open up business opportunities for U.S. nuclear energy companies in India.

Clinton will continue her multi-nation diplomatic tour with stops in Indonesia and Hong Kong.