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Exclusive: Obama's letter to PM spells out ties
November 07, 2008
[The following is the text of a letter dated September 23, 2008, from US President-elect (then Democratic Presidential nominee) Barack Obama [Images] to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh [Images]]
Dear Prime Minister Singh
I am very pleased that your visit provides us with the opportunity to strengthen the US-India relationship: deepening and broadening the friendship between our countries will be a first-order priority for me in the coming years. I am sorry that I was unable to meet with you on this trip, but very much look forward to doing so in the near future.
Before turning to matters of policy, please permit me to offer my condolences on the painful losses your citizens have suffered in the recent string of terrorist assaults. As I have said publicly, I deplore and condemn the vicious attacks perpetrated in New Delhi [Images] earlier this month, and on the Indian embassy in Kabul on July 7. The death and destruction is reprehensible, and you and your nation have my deepest sympathy. These cowardly acts of mass murder are a stark reminder that India suffers from the scourge of terrorism on a scale few other nations can imagine. I will continue to urge all countries to cooperate with Indian authorities in tracking down the perpetrators of these atrocities. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
I also want to take this opportunity to express my great admiration for the courage you showed in shepherding the civil nuclear cooperation agreement through your Parliament, the IAEA and the NSG. I was pleased to vote by proxy for the agreement in committee today, and I very much hope we can vote on this agreement before the US Congress goes out of session. As you know, there are some procedural obstacles that may prevent a vote this year. When it does come up for a vote, however, I will of course vote in favor. If time runs out in the current Congress, I will resubmit the agreement next year as President.
I strongly support civil nuclear cooperation, because I believe it will enhance our partnership and deepen our cooperation on a whole range of matters. Importantly, it will help India to meet its growing electricity demands while aiding in the important effort to combat global warming. But I see this agreement only as a beginning of a much closer relationship between our two great countries. I would like to see US-India relations grow across the board to reflect our shared interests, shared values, shared sense of threats and ever-burgeoning ties between our two economies and societies.
As a starting point, our common strategic interests call for redoubling US-Indian military, intelligence and law enforcement cooperation. The recent bombings remind us that we are both victims of terrorist attacks on our soil, and we share a common goal of defeating these forces of extremism. India and America should similarly work together to promote our democratic values and strengthen legal institutions in South Asia and beyond. We also should be working hand-in-hand to tap into the creativity and dynamism of our entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists to promote development of alternative sources of clean energy. Imagine our two democracies in action: Indian laboratories and industry collaborating with American laboratories and industry to discover innovative solutions to today's energy problems. That is the kind of new partnership I would like to build with India as President.
I also hope that a civil nuclear cooperation agreement can open the door to greater collaboration with India on non-proliferation issues. This subject will be one of my highest priorities as President. I am committed to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and will make this a central element of US nuclear weapons policy. I will work with the US Senate to secure ratification of the international treaty banning nuclear weapons testing at the earliest practical day, and then launch a major diplomatic initiative to ensure its entry into force. I will also pursue negotiations on a verifiable, multilateral treaty to end production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
I very much hope and expect India will cooperate closely with the United States in these multilateral efforts. With the benefits of nuclear cooperation come real responsibilities -- and that should include steps to restrain nuclear weapons programs and pursuing effective disarmament when others do so. I greatly look forward to working with you on these and other issues in the future.