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Kerry: ‘Transformative’ moment in US-India ties

July 28, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and India have reached a transformative moment in their relationship and should become “indispensable partners,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday.

Kerry was speaking ahead of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue he will attend with Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in New Delhi this week — the first edition of the annual talks with India’s new government.

Kerry said the relationship between the two largest democracies is of deep importance to the world. Ties were strained last year over the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York.

Kerry said election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi provides an opportunity to invigorate the relationship. He said U.S. can help the government deliver reform and economic growth.

“This is a potentially transformative moment in our partnership with India, and we’re determined to deliver on the strategic and historic opportunities that we can create together,” Kerry told the Center for American Progress think tank. He added that the two nations “can and should be indispensable partners for the 21st century.”

He urged India to ease restrictions on trade and investment and limit subsidies, and work with the U.S. in fighting climate change.

From early in his presidency, President Barack Obama sought to deepen ties with India, but with mixed results.

Modi’s pro-business outlook could prove positive for the flagging relationship, but there may be lingering awkwardness over a previous U.S. refusal to Modi visa over allegations he was complicit in anti-Muslim violence when he served as a state governor. Obama has now invited Modi to visit Washington in September.

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