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The days of 'old mindsets' are over: Ronen Sen

Aziz Haniffa in Seattle | November 25, 2008 09:54 IST
Last Updated: November 25, 2008 21:17 IST

Indian Ambassador to US Ronen Sen has said that in his more than four decades in the Indian diplomatic service, nowhere has he been "fortunate enough as in the United States."

Addressing the 15th national biennial convention of the National Federation of Indian American Associations, held in Washington, Sen said, "I have been to a number of countries and I have been involved for over four decades in the diplomatic service, but nowhere have I been fortunate enough as in the United States, because no other country has seen in such a short time -- in the period of four years -- such a dramatic improvement in relations."

Sen said one of the tangible manifestations of this dramatic improvement in relations between Washington and New Delhi [Images] was the consummation of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal "because this agreement shows a number of aspects to it."

"One aspect of course is that it is vitally important in terms of our energy security, and vitally important also in terms of our shared concern for the environment of climate change."

Sen predicted that "it is going to meet both those critical objectives -- that is very clear and obvious."

"But it goes beyond that," he argued, and said, "our shared concerns on proliferation have now been converted into a partnership -- a strong partnership -- to counter proliferation."

Sen said there were important aspects even beyond all of this, and added, "This agreement signals a transformation -- a fundamental transformation in the approach of both countries toward each other."

"It also signals a shared desire and a shared commitment of both countries, which recognise the inevitability and the indispensability of embarking on a strategic partnership between the two democracies."

Sen asserted that "this is the importance of the civil nuclear agreement -- it transcends just civil nuclear cooperation."

The ambassador said that another important aspect of the nuclear deal was that while there were reservations about it on both sides, "which we recognise, ultimately these reservations were overcome with a tremendous bipartisan majority within this country."

Sen then went on to explain of how the Hyde Act enabling the facilitation of the nuclear deal was passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the then Republican-controlled House and thereafter, legislation ratifying the deal, mustered the same bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate during Democratic control this year.

He said that this clearly showed that the days of "the old mindsets" were over and there was a clear recognition and acknowledgment of the importance of an envisaged Indo-US strategic partnership.

"Our relationship is not just about civil nuclear cooperation. It is more broad-based than any other relationship we have with any other country today," Sen emphasized.

He said someone had mentioned that the sky is the limit in US-India relations, but he argued that he would beg to differ, because the sky was not the limit vis-�-vis the ties between the two democracies.

And to make his point, Sen recalled that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] arrived in Washington for the G-20 economic summit hosted by President Bush to discuss the global financial crisis, "when I met him at the airport, I gave him the good news which I just had that the probe of our lunar mission had landed on the moon and you had the Indian tricolour -- which was the fourth flag on the moon."

"And, on this moon mission, you had two critical instruments -- NASA [Images] instruments -- and so this is another manifestation of our collaboration," which goes beyond the sky," he said.

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