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Goodbye India, says US envoy Timothy Roemer

Last updated on: June 30, 2011 14:32 IST

Goodbye India, says US envoy Timothy Roemer

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The United States on Thursday said it "strongly and vehemently" supports the Nuclear Suppliers Group clean waiver for India and hoped that the civil nuclear deal between the two countries will continue to move in a positive direction.

"I want to say that the US and the Obama administration strongly and vehemently support the clean waiver for India. The 123 civil nuclear legislation also underscores our support for India in this debate that is going on and our law also points to the clean waiver for India," US ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer told newsmen in New Delhi.

On his last day in office, the US envoy was asked about the American support for India to get the clean waiver from the Nuclear Supplier's Group.

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Image: Outgoing US ambassador to India Timothy Roemer delivers his farewell speech at India Gate
Photographs: Reuters
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'US strongly supports NSG clean waiver for India'

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The 46-member NSG, the elite nuclear club, last week decided to push for more stringent norms that govern technology transfer for reprocessing technology. This decision has raised concerns about its impact on the landmark civil nuclear deal India signed with the US.

"With India's commitment and as they look to ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage and they work closely with the US companies, I am hopeful that the civil nuclear agreement will continue to move in a positive direction," he added.

There have been indications that India was in touch with NSG and that the recent decision will not adversely impact the India-specific agreement with NSG.


Image: Congress supporters celebrate the approval of US-Indian atomic energy deal
Photographs: Reuters
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'US working to avoid pat-down searches on Indian dignitaries'

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Asked to comment on the issue of pat-down searches on Indian dignitaries at the US airports, the ambassador said America was working on these issues to prevent their recurrence in future.

"When Janet Napolitano (US homeland security secretary) was in New Delhi, she said that we are working to improve how when you have a minister or a very important person travelling to the United States... takes place without incidence. We are coordinating more and more on travel itineraries so that those experiences don't take place in future," Roemer said.

In the recent past, Indian ambassador to the US Meera Shankar and a few other diplomats were subjected to pat-down search at the US airports over which India had registered its protest.

Image: Indian ambassador to the US Meera Shankar was subjected to a pat-down search in US

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'Both India, US want a peaceful Afghanistan'

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Roemer said looking at the bigger picture, one finds that India and the US have come closer to each other in the last ten years and many "positive developments" have taken place in this time period between the two countries.

"We are working closely in the fields of intelligence sharing and counter terrorism. We are working together on global issues and both India and US want a peaceful Afghanistan," he said.

Roemer said the media should also concentrate on the positives of the relationship along with the "occasional hiccups and the challenges faced by the relationship".

Summing up his achievements in his two-year tenure in the country, Roemer said the two countries have moved closer in a number of areas. "We have seen significant improvement in strategic defence cooperation including the recently agreed sale of the C-17," he said.


Image: US Marine Corps Capt Scott A Cuomo speaks with an Afghan villager in Garmsir district, Helmand province, Afghanistan

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'US can help India deal with rising food prices'

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Roemer said the two countries have moved closer on regional issues as peace in Afghanistan was in the "strategic interest" of both the countries and they were also working closely on the issue of Bangladesh and Africa.

He said there was more scope for the two countries to work together in the future in several areas including economics and trade which will be mutually beneficial.

"The US is struggling with nine per cent unemployment rat and India is dealing with some of the issues like rising food prices and infrastructure. We believe that the US can help out in these areas in economic cooperation and infrastructure building. This will benefit both the countries," he said.

Roemer took up his India assignment in August 2009 and resigned from his post in April citing personal commitments.


Image: CPI-M protests against the rise in food prices

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